"WESKUS treasures"

Langebaan to Saldanha Bay, Western Cape


Langebaan lagoon, beautiful beaches and islands for seabirds, this MPA network conserves treasures unique to the West Coast.

The Marine Protected Areas of the West Coast include Sixteen-mile Beach, Langebaan Lagoon, and Malgas, Jutten and Marcus Islands. These MPAs are part of the West Coast National Park, which forms the core area of the Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserve. It is thus a complex protected area, different parts of which were proclaimed at different times. Langebaan Lagoon was first proclaimed as a marine reserve in 1973. The proclaimation of Langebaan National Park followed in 1985 and was revised in 2000. Malgas Island MPA was proclaimed in 1985, and Jutten and Marcus islands in 2000.

Langebaan Lagoon is the only tidal lagoon in South Africa and protects 30% of South Africa’s saltmarshes. Thousands of Palaearctic migrant waders travel to the lagoon in the summer months when they are not breeding. The waders comb the mudflats for tiny molluscs and other organisms. The marine fauna of the lagoon includes 400 invertebrate species, 29 bony fish species and 12 shark and ray species. Important recreational and commercial linefish species such as white stumpnose, geelbek, snoek and yellowtail use the lagoon as a refuge and many fishes depend on it as a nursery area. Malgas, Jutten and Marcus Island are important nesting sites for seabirds. Malgas Island is one of only three islands in South Africa where Cape gannets breed, supporting more than 2,000 pairs. The islands are also home to endangered bank cormorants, kelp gulls and 30 percent of the world's African black oystercatchers.

These areas are only a short drive from Cape Town, which makes it important for tourism. Many local community members obtain their living from the tourism industry. The West Coast National Park is managed by South African National Parks. The Langebaan Lagoon is divided into three zones including a controlled zone where recreational and commercial fishing and power boating is allowed, a restricted zone, where no fishing is allowed and only non-powered vessels such as sailing and canoeing are permitted and a sanctuary zone where no access is allowed due to the sensitivity of the environment in this region. No fishing from the shore is allowed in the Sixteen-mile Beach MPA nor is it allowed around the shores of any of the islands.



  • protects migratory wading birds

  • protects nesting areas of endangered seabirds

  • protects nursery area for fish and invertebrates