The South African Association for Marine Biological Research (SAAMBR) recently launched a new exhibition within the aquarium at uShaka Marine World to create awareness about Marine Protected Areas (MPA).

This after a recent survey revealed that only 10 % of visitors to uShaka Sea World could pin point an area that they knew as an MPA. MPAs are protected areas of coastline, or ocean are places where marine life can thrive, reproduce and grow. Currently only 0.4% of South Africa’s ocean territory is protected. In KZN the Aliwal Shoal Marine Protected Area and the iSimangaliso Marine Protected Area protect critical biodiversity along the shore, but, offshore there are no areas of the ocean protected. Canyons, 100-year-old corals and endemic fish found nowhere else in the world are vulnerable to fishing and mining pressures. The new MPAs will help to protect the unique offshore natural assets of KZN and South Africa.

SAAMBR CEO, Dr Larry Oellermann, is passionate about the critical role that MPAs play in conserving our ocean heritage. “MPAs are one of the best ways we have to protect the marine environment. An environment that must be protected if we are to continue to gain from the benefits it provides.”

SAAMBR, through the work of the Oceanographic Research Institute, is proud to have been a partner in many of the research initiatives that have helped to uncover these exciting new ecosystems and the life they contain.