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Institute for Coastal and Marine Research

EBSA threat status is assessed in terms of the pressures and threats to their key biodiversity features. These are the features that must remain intact to ensure that coastal and marine biodiversity and ecological processes persist into the future and, ultimately, contribute to sustainable ocean use. In order to safeguard these key biodiversity features, EBSAs or parts of EBSAs may require enhanced risk aversion, achieved by more strongly regulating human activities in specific zones.


In the MSP process, EBSAs will comprise two Biodiversity Zones:

Conservation The management objective is strict place-based biodiversity protection aimed at securing key biodiversity features in a natural or semi-natural state, or as near to this state as possible
Impact Management The management objective is management of impacts on key biodiversity features in a mixed-use area to keep key biodiversity features in at least a functional state.


Activities within these two zones can be placed into one of four different categories depending on their compatibility with the management objective of that zone.

Primary An activity that supports the maintenance of biodiversity features. This activity should be encoraged in this zone, and should be prioritized when spatial management decisions are being made. These activities are still likely to be subject to reasonable controls and management measures.
General An activity that is allowed and regulated by current general rules and legislation.
Consent An activity which can continue in this zone subject to specific regulation and control. Careful controls are likely to be put in place to avoid unacceptable impacts on biodiversity features, or to avoid intensification or expansion of impact footprints of uses that are already occuring and where there are no realistic prospects of excluding these activities.
Prohibited An activity which is not allowed or should not be allowed because it is incompatible with maintaining the biodiversity objectives of the zone.


Zoom in to view the proposed zonation of the Namibian EBSAs, which is still under discussion. Note that zonation and management of transboundary EBSAs is split at the national borders, with each country responsible for management in their jurisdiction only.