EBSA overview  |  Delineation |  Revising EBSAs in ABNJ




EBSA overview

The Benguela Upwelling System is a transboundary EBSA shared between South Africa and Namibia, and includes a portion of the high seas beyond the Angolan EEZ. It is globally unique as the only cold-water upwelling system to be bounded in the north and south by warm-water current systems, and is characterized by very high primary production (>1000 mg C.m-2.day-1). It includes important spawning and nursery areas for fish as well as foraging areas for threatened vertebrates, such as sea- and shorebirds, turtles, sharks, and marine mammals. Another key characteristic feature is the diatomaceous mud-belt in the Northern Benguela, which supports regionally unique low-oxygen benthic communities that depend on sulphide oxidising bacteria.



Open or collapse the legend as a sidebar by clicking the icon in the top left corner of the map. In the legend you can turn on/off the old/new extents of the EBSA. You can zoom in/out using the mouse or the +/- buttons on the map, and click on the features for more information.


Revising EBSAs in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction

Consideration was given to the relevance of EBSAs described by the South-East Atlantic Regional Workshop to facilitate the description of Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas (Swakopmund, Namibia 8-12 April, 2013) that lie either wholly or partly within ABNJ namely the Benguela Upwelling System; the Walvis Ridge; and the Sub Tropical Convergence Zone. The MARISMA project participants have agreed that it is premature to pre-empt any decision by CBD COP 14 on these EBSAs beyond national jurisdiction.


In future, for any proposed modification to EBSAs described by the SE Atlantic Regional EBSA workshop (UNEP/CBD/RW/EBSA/SEA/1/4) that lie either wholly or partly within ABNJ, a State or States in the BC Region would need to make a submission to the CBD Secretariat. Any such submission would likely result in a CBD notification to all States; be subject to consideration by the EBSA-Informal Advisory Group; and could potentially require consideration by a future CBD Workshop. 


The MARISMA project participants have agreed that potential proposals could include one of more of the following options:

  1. extension of the large Benguela Upwelling System EBSA to include waters adjacent to and within the Angola EEZ;
  2. further specification of the Benguela Upwelling System EBSA to make it clear that this dynamic oceanographic feature (Category 4 EBSA) recognizes the significance of a major oceanographic feature that provides the basis for the BCLME and rationale for the BCC but is not a basis for management
  3. consideration of whether the proposed revisions to sub-regional EBSAs now made the identification of the Benguela Upwelling System EBSA redundant
  4. further considerations to transboundary connections between proposed new national EBSAs and EBSAs within ABNJ (e.g. Walvis Ridge)