South African Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa has approved the rezoning of the Tsitsikamma Marine Protected Area (MPA) in the country’s southeastern coast to allow limited fishing by members of local communities.
The Tsitsikamma National Park Marine Protected Area Declaration Notice has been published in a Government Gazette while the regulations were published in another gazette notification on Monday. The publications were made under provisions of the National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act, 2003.
The regulations grant permission for local communities to fish 20 per cent 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 included marine biodiversity conservation and direct and indirect 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 had been excluded from fishing in the protected area to increasing degrees since 1975 and the new regulations seek to provide equitable access to marine resources for local communities.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK