Tsitsikamma Marine Protected Area rezoned
Minister of Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa has approved the rezoning of the Tsitsikamma Marine Protected Area (MPA) to allow limited fishing by members of local communities.
The Tsitsikamma National Park Marine Protected Area Declaration Notice was published in Government Gazette 40510 while the regulations were published in Government Gazette 40511 on Monday. The publications were made in terms of section 22A of the National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act, 2003. The regulations grant permission for local communities to fish 20% of the coastline in three areas of the MPA.
“The rezoning follows an extensive public participation process, including extended engagements with local communities,” the Department of Environmental Affairs said.
The public participation process included consideration of the socio-economic circumstances of the area concerned as well as the biological resources of the area.
“The objectives of the rezoning include, inter alia, marine biodiversity conservation and direct (reasonable access to the MPA and its biological resources) and indirect (socio-economic opportunities, such as, local jobs and tourism development) community benefits. Whilst no-take MPAs are effective in achieving protection of marine resources and biodiversity, by definition they exclude reasonable access for the local communities to marine resources,” the department said.
Members of the local communities around the Tsitsikamma Marine Protected Area have been excluded from fishing in the protected area to increasing degrees since 1975. The regulations seek to provide equitable access to marine resources for local communities.