What is the National Coastal and Marine Spatial Biodiversity Plan  |  Why was it developed and how is it envisaged to be used

Versions and updates  |  Feedback on/from previous versions and meetings  |  Additional Resources


Click here for the National Coastal and Marine CBA Map Version 1.1 (06-2021)

The technical report is till being finalised but the CBA Map V1.1 and sea-use guidelines are available


New content alert: Information Session (22 October 2020) Report, including responses to stakeholder comments and questions


What is the National Coastal and Marine Spatial Biodiversity Plan?

The National Coastal and Marine Spatial Biodiversity Plan comprises a map of Critical Biodiversity Areas (CBA Map) and accompanying sea-use guidelines. The CBA Map presents a spatial plan for the marine environment, designed to inform planning and decision-making in support of sustainable development. The sea-use guidelines enhance the use of the CBA Map in a range of planning and decision-making processes by indicating the compatibility of various activities with the different biodiversity priority areas so that the broad management objective of each can be maintained.


Why was it developed and how is it envisaged to be used?

Operation Phakisa is a presidential initiative that was launched in 2014 to help fast-track implementation of the National Development Plan. More specifically, Operation Phakisa Oceans Economy aims to unlock the economic potential of South Africa's oceans, with a view to accelerating diversification and intensification of activities in the country’s coastal zone and oceans to grow the blue economy. Recognising the need to plan for these activities, South Africa is developing a national, multi-sector Marine Spatial Plan (MSP). [To watch a 5 min video on what MSP is, click here. There are options to watch the video in Afrikaans, English, isiXhosa and isiZulu].


The Coastal and Marine CBA Map aims to consolidate several past and present spatial assessment and planning initiatives (e.g., Marine Protected Areas and Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas) to provide a coherent map of the coastal and marine biodiversity priority areas in South Africa that require focused management measures to inform multi-sectoral processes, such as MSP, in the same way that CBA Maps with accompanying land-use guidelines inform Spatial Development Frameworks on land.


The National Coastal and Marine Spatial Biodiversity Plan is envisaged to provide inputs into national Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) as well as other planning and decision-making processes to ensure that marine biodiversity assets and ecological infrastructure are secured, and that development of the ocean economy is sustainable. It also includes contributions towards identifying focus areas for Marine Protected Area (MPA) expansion, which builds on work that supported the declaration of 20 new MPAs in 2019.


In addition, Spatial Biodiversity Plans can inform and streamline environmental decision-making, including Environmental Impact Assessments.


Versions and updates

Version 1.1 (Released XX-XX-2021) The CBA Map is available; the technical report is in review, which will replace Version 1.0 and Version 1 beta 2. A launch will be announced when all the products are ready for release.

Version 1.0 (Released 26-02-2021) The CBA Map was made available with an interim release note (26-02-2020). Note the CBA Map has been replaced by Version 1.1.

Version 1 beta 2 (Released: 15-12-2020) The Version 1 Beta 2 technical report is available while the latest version is being prepared for release.

Version 1 beta 1 (Released: 4-11-2020)

Version 0 (Internally available for NBA 2018: 21-03-2019)