The inaugural Marine Protected Areas (MPA) of South Africa will be commemorated on 1 August and the MPA Day Alliance has a number of exciting activities planned leading up to, and on the day.
1. Show off your photographic skills and win great prizes!
To get the “gees” going for the special day, a photographic competition gives photographers of all ages and skill levels, the chance to not only show off their photography talents, but also to win some amazing prizes. Photos taken in any of the South African MPAs – because “local is lekker” – can be submitted in one of three categories:
Scenery – Submit your photos of beautiful sunrises, sunsets, and other scenic shots. These can be above or below the water.
Creatures– Submit your photos of marine and estuary wildlife large and small above or below the water.
Activities – Submit your photos of friends and family enjoying activities in MPAs – hiking, surfing, diving, snorkelling, kayaking etc. (please have their permission).
Photographers can submit up to three photographs per category.
The submission deadline has been extended to 31 August 2021 and the winners will be announced on 01 September.
Prizes include entrance tickets to various attractions, specialist tours, cruises, books and an A1 acrylic print.
On MPA Day (1 August) a live webinar will be hosted from various areas around the coast. Starting at 14h00, this exciting event will take the form of a live crossing to four South African MPAs. Join the webinar to learn more about each of the featured MPAs, their history, ecosystems, historical and traditional significance and the people who love, make use of, and protect these areas. This online event will be ideal for families to join and experience areas of South Africa where they might not have been before, or to “revisit” areas that they love and have explored previously.
3. Get tweeting!
The first ever MPA Day in Africa will be brought to a close by an interactive and sociable Twitter chat that will be hosted by the members of the MPA Day Alliance. The Twitter chat is scheduled to start at 19h00 and will see active and lively interactions between the Alliance members, their followers and others who are interested in, and have a love for, Marine Protected Areas. Follow MPA Day on Twitter @MPAsSA1 and be ready to answer some fun questions and show everyone your love for, and interest in. Marine Protected Areas.
South Africa currently has 41 Marine Protected areas. These protected areas make up only five percent of ourcoastline. Studies have shown that MPAs have great positive impact, not only on the marine life found in the area, but also on surrounding communities and the economy of the area.
Here are five quick reasons why MPAs are important:
1. MPAs support adjacent fisheries
2. MPAs ensure healthy marine animals
3. MPAs help with job creation
4. MPAs provide resilience to climate change
5. MPAs contribute to research
There is a strong and necessary global call for the protection of more marine areas worldwide. There are various levels of protection and not all MPAs are totally and wholly protected areas. In many MPAs resource utilisation is allowed according to strict regulations; while in other areas no resource utilisation is permitted. The drive to protect more of our ocean ecosystem stems from the fact that as humans, we are all deeply dependent on the ocean for the healthy future of our planet. Without a balanced and healthy ecosystem within the marine environment, we cannot have a healthy ecosystem on land. This of course has a great impact for both humans and terrestrial animals and plants.
Join the celebration of our natural and marine heritage by celebrating MPA Day on 1 August. It is easy to show your support. Join the initiatives as organised by the MPA Day Alliance, or go and visit your local MPA. Connect with nature and enjoy and appreciate the beauty of the area. Do your part and tell others about the MPAs around South Africa, why they are important, and why we should look after them and work towards more protected areas around our coast.
Phot Credit: Mark Van Coller, Morne Hardenburg, Alison Kock, DUrbanTV
For more information about Marine Protected Areas in South Africa, visit: https://www.marineprotectedareas.org.za/
Follow MPA Day on Facebook: MPASouthAfrica, Twitter: @MPAsSA1 and Instagram: @marineprotectedareassa
MPA Day Alliance partners are: SAAMBR, Two Oceans Aquarium Trust, Dyer Island Conservation Trust, Flow Communications, Olivia Jones Communications, WildOceans