EBSA Status Assessment and Management Recommendations

Ecological Condition, Threat Status, Current Protection and Key Features in the EBSA

Relevant Pressures and Activities (impact, extent) | Management Interventions Needed for the EBSA

Activity Evaluation Per Zone: Zoning Feasibility | Back to the Angolan EBSA status and management home page

 

 

EBSA overview

Mussulo-Kwanza-Cabo Ledo Complex is an area of high habitat heterogeneity and diversity, with two estuaries, small coastal islands, mangroves, sandy beaches, seamounts and canyons. It plays an important role in the life-histories of many species including nurseries for commercially important fish; feeding and resting sites for birds; and nesting sites for turtles. It includes many threatened species and ecosystems.

 

Click here for the full EBSA description

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Ecological Condition, Threat Status, Current Protection and Key Features in the EBSA

Mussulo-Kwanza-Cabo Ledo Complex has a diverse collection of features and ecosystem types that need to be protected for the area to maintain the features and processes that give it its EBSA status. The criteria for which this EBSA ranks highly are: importance for life history stages, and importance for threatened species. There are 23 ecosystem types represented, with the seamounts and canyons expected to contain fragile species that are especially sensitive to damage. The many ecosystems in the area in turn support a rich diversity, including several threatened species. These include turtles, manatees, and a collection of seabirds and waterbirds. The mangroves and estuaries are important nursery areas for many invertebrates and some fish species, and the offshore area includes an important nursery area for horse mackerel eggs and larvae.

Mussulo-Kwanza-Cabo Ledo Complex proportion of area in each ecological condition category.

 

Revision of the EBSA boundary largely excluded areas of direct impact, therefore, the Mussulo-Kwanza-Cabo Ledo Complex is mostly in good ecological condition (57%), with some portions that are fair (31%). Consequently, the bulk of the offshore extent is Least Concern (71%). However, there are some areas that are heavily utilised and in poor ecological condition (12%). The result is that the shelf edge, shelf, and especially shore ecosystem types almost all threatened, and the slope is in good ecological condition and Least Concern. Consequently, 29% of the EBSA area comprises threatened ecosystem types that are mostly Endangered. There are also two Critically Endangered ecosystem types: Luanda Inshore and Luanda Reflective Sandy Beach.

 

Mussulo-Kwanza-Cabo Ledo Complex proportion of area in each ecosystem threat status category.

 

Mussulo-Kwanza-Cabo Ledo Complex proportion of area in a Marine Protected Area (MPA).

 

Currently, there are no Marine Protected Areas that overlap with the EBSA to protect its features and processes, although the southern coastal portion is adjacent to the Quiçama National Park. Most ecosystem types are Not Protected, three are Poorly Protected and two are Moderately Protected.

 

Threat status, protection level and ecological condition of ecosystem types in the EBSA. Other key features are also listed.

Feature

Threat Status

Protection Level

Condition (%)

Good

Fair

Poor

Ecosystem Types

Bengo Lagoon Coast

LC

NP

0.00

95.02

4.98

Bengo Mixed Shore

LC

NP

0.00

100.00

0.00

Bengo Shelf

EN

NP

0.00

7.61

92.39

Bengo Shelf Edge

EN

NP

0.00

74.40

25.60

Bengo Upper Slope

LC

NP

68.75

29.95

1.30

Congo Lower Slope

LC

NP

100.00

0.00

0.00

Congo Seamount

LC

NP

100.00

0.00

0.00

Kwanza Estuarine Shore

VU

PP

27.81

0.00

72.19

Kwanza Inshore

EN

NP

6.14

64.71

29.15

Kwanza Intermediate Sandy Beach

EN

MP

24.63

72.51

2.86

Kwanza Lower Slope

LC

NP

100.00

0.00

0.00

Kwanza Mixed Shore

EN

MP

41.59

7.05

51.36

Kwanza Reflective Sandy Beach

LC

PP

84.04

1.63

14.33

Kwanza Shelf

EN

NP

0.00

79.20

20.80

Kwanza Shelf Edge

EN

NP

0.00

58.04

41.96

Kwanza Sheltered Rocky Shore

LC

PP

54.56

0.00

45.44

Kwanza Upper Slope

LC

NP

70.30

15.39

14.31

Luanda Inshore

CR

NP

0.00

25.04

74.96

Luanda Intermediate Sandy Beach

LC

NP

0.00

0.00

100.00

Luanda Lagoon Coast

EN

NP

2.96

30.75

66.29

Luanda Mixed Shore

EN

NP

0.00

56.60

43.40

Luanda Reflective Sandy Beach

CR

NP

2.75

18.09

79.16

Luanda Sheltered Rocky Shore

VU

NP

0.00

0.00

100.00

Other Features

  • Nesting turtles
  • Manatees
  • Mangroves
  • Waterbirds and seabirds
  • Nursery areas for fish and crabs


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Relevant Pressures and Activities (impact, extent)

  • There are 8 major pressures present in this EBSA, with those relating to fishing and coastal development being most important.
  • The EBSA lies just south of Luanda city, where major port activities and urban industrial activities occur. These adjacent coastal impacts (particularly in Luanda Bay) are likely to increase coastal pressures within the EBSA. Offshore pressures relate largely to fisheries.
  • Key pressures in this EBSA that most directly impact the features for which the EBSA is described include: benthic longlining, artisanal fishing, small pelagics fishing. These activities cover discrete portions of the EBSA, and are mostly concentrated on the shelf and shelf edge. These activities will need to be managed particularly well in order to protect the fragile benthic biodiversity, nursery habitats, and fish assemblages for which this EBSA is recognised. For most of these pressures, the larger portion of the activity is located in the Impact Management Zone.
  • All of the pressures mapped for Angola occur in this EBSA, except for pelagic longlining.

Map of cumulative pressure from all activities in the EBSA and surrounds. Darker reds indicate higher pressure intensity.

 

Pressure (in arbitrary cumulative pressure units, CPUs) summed for each pressure in the EBSA, per proposed EBSA biodiversity zone, ranked left (highest) to right (lowest) by the overall relative importance of pressures in this EBSA. Note that mining comprises <1% of the EBSA pressure profile.

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Management Interventions Needed for the EBSA

Improved place-based protection of EBSA features should be pursued. In support of this, the EBSA is divided into a Conservation Zone and an Impact Management Zone, both comprising several areas within the EBSA. The aim of the Conservation Zone is to secure core areas of key biodiversity features in natural / near-natural ecological condition. Strict place-based biodiversity conservation is thus directed at securing key biodiversity features in a natural or semi-natural state, or as near to this state as possible. Activities or uses that have significant biodiversity impacts should be prohibited. Where possible and appropriate these areas should be considered for formal protection e.g., Marine Protected Areas or other effective area-based conservation measures (OECM). The aim of the Impact Management Zone is to manage negative impacts on key biodiversity features where strict place-based measures are not practical or not essential. In this zone, the focus is management of impacts on key biodiversity features in a mixed-use area, with the objective to keep biodiversity features in at least a functional state. Activities or uses which have significant biodiversity impacts should be strictly controlled and/or regulated. Within this zone, there should be no increase in the intensity of use or the extent of the footprint of activities that have significant biodiversity impacts. Where possible, biodiversity impacts should be reduced. As far as possible, the Conservation Zone was designed deliberately to avoid conflicts with existing activities. Note that there are no marine protected areas in this EBSA. 

 

Proposed zonation of the EBSA into Conservation (medium green) and Impact Management (light green) Zones. MPAs are overlaid in orange outlines, with the extent within the EBSA given in dark green. Click on each of the zones to view the proposed management recommendations.

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Protection of features in the rest of the Conservation Zone may require additional Marine Protected Area declaration/expansion. Other effective conservation measures should also be applied via Marine Spatial Planning to ensure that the existing activities/uses are appropriately controlled to ensure compatibility of activities with the environmental requirements for achieving the management objectives of the EBSA Conservation and Impact Management Zones. Further, no new pressures should be extended into the Conservation Zone, even if they currently occur in the Impact Management Zone of the EBSA.

 

Recommended compatibility (consent1 or prohibited2) of activities currently present in the EBSA3 in the Conservation and Impact Management Zones

1Consent: An activity which can continue in this zone subject to specific regulation and control.

2Prohibited: An activity which is not allowed or should not be allowed because it is incompatible with maintaining the biodiversity objectives of the zone.

*Not present in zone.

^Need to check whether activity is legitimately present in the Conservation Zone or if it is artificially present because of the coarse data resolution; if legitimately present, Consent or revise zone to exclude activity in some cases; if no, Prohibited.

3Note that activities present in Angola that are not relevant to the EBSA have been excluded from the table (e.g., the harvested species does not occur in the area; or the industry operates at a depth outside the depth range of the EBSA).

 

Furthermore, no new activities that can negatively impact the environment should be allowed in the EBSA, and some activities present in the EBSA do not need to be managed by EBSA zoning and can continue as per the current regulations. There are also some pressures on biodiversity features within the EBSA that originate from activities outside of these EBSA or beyond the jurisdiction of MSP. In support of maintaining the ecological integrity of and benefits delivered by the key biodiversity features, these other activities need to be appropriately managed by complementary initiatives.

 

Recommendations for other activities outside the EBSA or the MSP management jurisdiction.

 

Activity Evaluation Per Zone: Zoning Feasibility
 

Proposed zonation of the EBSA, with the cumulative intensity footprint of activities within the EBSA (sorted highest to lowest) given relative to the national footprint of those activities to illustrate feasibility of management interventions.

The activities that are present in Mussulo-Kwanza-Cabo Ledo have a very small component of their respective national footprints (<10%) in the EBSA, which fall mostly within the Impact Management Zone where the activities could still continue with relevant regulations and controls. Acknowledging the dependence of local communities and other non-commercial marine users of the region, artisanal fishing is proposed as a Consent activity in both the Conservation and Impact Management Zones. The presence of the other activities in the EBSA Conservation Zone may be an artefact of the coarse data resolution, which needs to be confirmed with the respective industries. In principle, destructive fishing practices such as trawling are recommended to be Prohibited in the Conservation Zone, and Consent in the Impact Management Zone. Non-destructive fishing, such as small pelagics fishing and benthic longlining, are recommended to be a Consent activity in either EBSA zone where they are already present, but are recommended to be a Prohibited activity in EBSA zones where they currently are not present.  Oil and gas activities are accommodated in the Conservation and Impact Management Zones as a proposed Consent activity. General ship movement can continue in both the Conservation and Impact Management Zone under current general rules and legislation. Thus, the EBSA zonation has no or minimal impact on the national footprint for the listed marine activities.

There are also several activities that are largely outside the EBSA but have downstream impacts to the biodiversity within the EBSA, e.g., coastal development, coastal disturbance, and wastewater discharge. The impacts should be managed, but principally fall outside the direct management and zoning of the EBSA. These existing activities are proposed as Consent activities for both EBSA zones, recognising that they should ideally be dealt with in complementary integrated coastal zone management in support of the EBSA. For example, rehabilitation of degraded dunes and formalising access points could support improved habitat for nesting shorebirds, and enhanced benefits for coastal protection during storm surges. Similarly, improved wastewater management regulations can improve the ecological condition of the surrounding marine environment, in turn, improving water quality and safe conditions for human recreation. It is also recommended to consider developing and implementing Biodiversity Management Plans for the iconic/top predator species, e.g., turtles, cetaceans and some of the seabirds and shorebirds in support of securing the biodiversity features for which the EBSA is recognised.

 

Research Needs

In addition to the general research needs, Mussulo-Kwanza-Cabo Ledo Complex has particular research gaps. Robust baseline data on the area remains sparse; therefore, more baseline research and ongoing monitoring is needed to ensure that the key features of the EBSA are well managed. For example, there is no specific information on the behaviour, breeding period and number of individuals of some species including cetaceans, fish, crustaceans and molluscs. There are also no specific studies of water quality and sediment, bathymetry and others important data for environmental monitoring. Further research is also required to fully understand the role of the canyons and seamounts in enhancing productivity and supporting species’ life-histories within this EBSA. And finally, the increase of use for tourism purposes and the development / revitalization of urban areas have increased pressure on the system of the proposed area; this needs research to determine the impact on the EBSA and its consistitent features.

 

Future Process

It is currently unclear whether this EBSA will be the focus for status assessment and detailed management planning. Key immediate issues are expanding marine protection in Angola. The Ramsar designation of parts of the area needs to be finalized and any required management interventions need to be implemented.

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