From Buffalo Bay to Sparrebosch, the Knysna Hope Spot includes the Knysna Estuary, marine coastline and offshore waters. This area is already safeguarded within South Africa’s Garden Route National Park, offering protection to unique species including the Knysna seahorse, with its only sustained population found in the estuary. The Knysna estuary is also an essential breeding ground for up to 80% of coastal fish species in the area.
Estuaries are important as the nurseries of the sea. Since their waters are protected from the weather, are rich in nutrients, are generally warmer than in the ocean, and are usually free of large predators, they’re ideal, safe environments in which the larvae and juveniles of many marine species can develop.
About 100 species of prawns, crabs, and fishes that produce their eggs and larvae at sea off the coast of South Africa rely on our estuaries in this way, while another 400 or so migrate into and out of our estuaries at some time during their lives. (Most of the fish that rely on estuaries as nurseries migrate into the estuaries from late winter through to early summer).
Marine Conservation Institute and the Waitt Foundation provide this
interactive tool to help users visualize the locations and coverage of global
marine protected areas (MPA). This atlas provides information on over 8000 MPAs
globally, drawing on datasets from the
World Database on Protected Areas1,
US MPA Center2,
and other country- and regional-level data authorities, as well as research
conducted by the Marine Conservation Institute.
In addition to MPA boundaries and site management information, this dataset
contains information on conservation measures with a particular focus on those
restricting the exploitation of marine life.
Features on this site are designed to allow users to understand (1) where current
protection exists and at what level, and (2), where important areas for future protection
are and any processes underway to establish MPAs. This provides vital information to
countries and their citizens interested in ocean conservation, management and stewardship.
The dataset is constantly being updated and we welcome visitors to the site to provide
feedback and update content by creating a member account on MPAtlas today.