Robben Island dives into marine conservation with new protection status

2019-04-18 16:42 - Selene Brophy
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Robben Island is not only a landmark World Heritage Site, but is now set to be recognised for its conservation efforts of the island's marine biodiversity.

Currently South Africa has 19 Marine Protected Areas - these are coastline or ocean that are specially protected for the benefit of people and nature - with Robben Island soon to be declared a Marine Protected Area (MPA) by the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA).

"Robben Island has a diverse coastal and underwater ecosystem that is home to many indigenous species, some of which are endangered, and all of which require protection,” says Sabelo Madlala, Head of Environmental Management at RIM. 

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The island has seen rampant poaching as a result - with the marine protective status ensuring a crackdown on any crayfish, snoek, yellow tail or abalone poaching, which are increasingly problematic.

"As an MPA, Robben Island, will enjoy additional protection while we continue to welcome visitors,” adds Madlala saying, "These activities will not be tolerated by law enforcement." 

“As a globally recognised heritage site Robben Island is committed to promoting and implementing initiatives toward sustainable tourism,” says Morongoa Ramaboa, spokesperson at RIM. 

“We want future generations to experience the same level of rich environmental and cultural diversity as visitors can experience today,” adds Ramaboa. 

The island will be restricting certain areas as well as regulating certain activities, once the MPA status is in place.  

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“We would like to encourage all visitors to do their part to help us comply as an MPA. Please do not litter, make use of our waste and recycling facilities on the Island. A clean coastal environment free of plastics contributes to the conservation of the many indigenous species,” says Ramaboa.  

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