Introduction  |  Status Assessment  |  Proposed Zoning and Management Recommendations

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View the Status Assessment and Proposed Zoning and Management Recommendations per EBSA

 

Introduction

EBSA inclusion into the upcoming Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) process is given as a proposed EBSA zoning with management recommendations per zone. Note that the current process (through the MARISMA Project) is scientific and technical, aimed at developing a coherent and evidence-based recommendation, and does not - in itself - make any ocean-zoning decisions. The actual decisions are part of the upcoming MSP process. Although the details of the MSP process have not yet been decided, it is required to include robust stakeholder engagement and negotiations among sectors. It is likely that the final negotiated Marine Spatial Plan will include significant compromises among sectors.

Click here to submit feedback on the revised environmental ask for EBSA inclusion into the upcoming Marine Spatial Planning process. Before submitting feedback, it is recommended that the content below is read first.

 

EBSA Status Assessment

To develop the evidence-based recommendations for EBSA management, EBSA threat status is assessed in terms of the pressures and threats to their key biodiversity features (based on data from the recent National Biodiversity Assessment 2018 for the Marine Realm). 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.

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Proposed Zoning and Management Recommendations

Background

In the MSP process, EBSAs will likely comprise three zones:

Strict Biodiversity Conservation Zone I: Marine Protected Areas Managed according to their gazetted regulations and therefore not included in these management recommendations.
 
Strict Biodiversity Conservation Zone II: Other Effective Area-Based Conservation Measures The management objective is strict place-based biodiversity protection aimed at securing key biodiversity features in a natural or near-natural state, or as near to this state as possible
 
Environmental 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 MSP categories depending on their compatibility with the EBSA features and management objective of that zone.

Primary An activity that supports the maintenance of biodiversity features. This activity should be encouraged 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 ideally 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.

 

As noted above, decisions about the management of each activity within an EBSA will be negotiated during the MSP process, which is mandated to include a robust stakeholder process. The MARISMA Project is undertaking initial assessments of activity compatibility with the zone management objectives to provide a coherent recommendation from the biodiversity sector that addresses as many initial concerns from other sectors as possible to streamline the negotiations during the MSP process. Again, the recommendations are not the final ocean-zoning decisions, but rather form the biodiversity sector’s input into the multi-sector process that will be negotiated during MSP.

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Proposed EBSA Zoning

Identifying the EBSA zones and activities compatible within them has been discussed at two National Workshops (see sidebar for meeting minutes), and is still under discussion. The zones are based on the Map of Critical Biodiversity Areas (CBA Map) from the National Coastal and Marine Spatial Biodiversity Plan Version 1 (Beta 1, in review). This CBA Map is based on a systematic biodiversity plan, where the EBSA Strict Biodiversity Conservation Zone II is equivalent to Critical Biodiversity Areas, and the EBSA Environmental Impact Management Zone is equivalent to Ecological Support Areas because the management objectives match in both cases.

 

National Coastal and Marine CBA Map v1.0 (Beta 1)

 

The EBSA Zone boundaries are subject to ongoing revision based on discussions with the National EBSA Working Group. Once finalised, these zones will be incorporated into the next iteration of the national Coastal and Marine CBA Map so that there is a single, coherent input from the biodiversity sector in multi-sector processes such as MSP. Note that the MSP negotiations will likely modify these zones even further if compromises are made between sectors. 

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Proposed management recommendations

To support the biodiversity sector’s recommendations, activities are evaluated here according to their compatibility with the management objective of the EBSA zones. Activities can be compatible (i.e., where current general rules and legislation would be appropriate to manage these activities within an EBSA), conditionally compatible (i.e., compatible only if stricter regulations and controls are applied over and above those stipulated in current general rules and legislation), or not compatible (i.e., where the activity is not compatible with the management objective). If an activity that is not compatible with an EBSA zone is permitted as part of compromises in MSP negotiations, it would require alternative areas or offsets to be identified. However, if this is not possible, it is recommended that the activity is prohibited within the EBSA zone. The principles tabulated below for assessing activity compatibility with the EBSA zones/CBA Map categories were based on the National Biodiversity Assessment 2018 Marine Realm Report, specifically the ecosystem-pressure matrix (Chapter 7).

 

Principles for assessing compatibility of activities within the EBSA Biodiversity Conservation Zone and Environmental Impact Management Zone, and implications for management of those activities

Type of activity

Biodiversity Conservation Zone

Environmental Impact Management Zone

Compatibility with the management objective to: keep the site in a natural / near-natural state

Compatibility with the management objective to: keep the site in at least a functional state

Activities that would (or could) result in Severe or Very Severe degradation over broad areas

Not compatible

Management implications: The activity should not be permitted to occur in this zone because it is not compatible with the management objective. If it is considered to be permitted as part of compromises in MSP negotiations, it would require alternative Biodiversity Conservation Zones or offsets to be identified. However, if this is not possible, it is recommended that the activity is kept prohibited within the EBSA zone.

Conditionally compatible

Management implications: Careful regulations and controls over and above the current general rules and legislation would be required to be put in place to avoid unacceptable impacts on biodiversity features. Examples of such regulations and controls include: avoiding intensification or expansion of current impact footprints; exclusions of activities in portions of the zone; additional gear restrictions; temporal closures of activities during sensitive periods for biodiversity features; etc.

Activities that would  (or could) result in Severe or Very Severe degradation of localised sites

Conditionally compatible

Management recommendations: Careful regulations and controls over and above the current general rules and legislation would be required to be put in place to avoid unacceptable impacts on biodiversity features. Examples of such regulations and controls include: avoiding intensification or expansion of current impact footprints; exclusions of activities in portions of the zone; additional gear restrictions; temporal closures of activities during sensitive periods for biodiversity features; etc.

Conditionally compatible

Management recommendations: Careful regulations and controls over and above the current general rules and legislation would be required to be put in place to avoid unacceptable impacts on biodiversity features. Examples of such regulations and controls include: avoiding intensification or expansion of current impact footprints; exclusions of activities in portions of the zone; additional gear restrictions; temporal closures of activities during sensitive periods for biodiversity features; etc.

Activities that would  (or could) result in or contribute to Moderate degradation

Conditionally compatible

Management recommendations: Careful regulations and controls over and above the current general rules and legislation would be required to be put in place to avoid unacceptable impacts on biodiversity features. Examples of such regulations and controls include: avoiding intensification or expansion of current impact footprints; exclusions of activities in portions of the zone; additional gear restrictions; temporal closures of activities during sensitive periods for biodiversity features; etc.

Compatible

Management recommendations: Activities should be allowed and regulated by current general rules. Notwithstanding, there should still be duty of care, possibly requiring monitoring and evaluation programmes, to avoid unintended cumulative impacts to the biodiversity features for which this zone is recognised.

Activities that would  (or could) result in low to very low degradation and/or are not managed by EBSA zones

Compatible

Management recommendations: Activities should be allowed and regulated by current general rules. Notwithstanding, there should still be duty of care, possibly requiring monitoring and evaluation programmes, to avoid unintended cumulative impacts to the biodiversity features for which this zone is recognised.

Compatible

Management recommendations: Activities should be allowed and regulated by current general rules. Notwithstanding, there should still be duty of care, possibly requiring monitoring and evaluation programmes, to avoid unintended cumulative impacts to the biodiversity features for which this zone is recognised.

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The table of compatibility of activities with EBSA zones (below) is from the sea-use guidelines presented in the National Coastal and Marine Spatial Biodiversity Plan Version 1 (Beta 1, in review). Note that this table sets out the absolute minimum recommendations for management of activities. They do not override existing controls on an activity (e.g., gillnetting) or where prohibitions are already in place (e.g., ammunition dumping). Further, the ideal position is if improved place-based protection of EBSA features is pursued. This may require additional Marine Protected Area declaration/expansion and/or other effective conservation measures in the Biodiversity Conservation Zone. 

 

List of all sea-use activities, grouped by their Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) zones, and scored according to their compatibility with the management objective of the Biodiversity Conservation Zone (i.e., Critical Biodiversity Area, CBA) and Environmental Impact Management Zone (i.e., Ecological Support Area, ESA). Activity compatibility is given as Y = yes, compatible, C = conditional or N = not compatible. (in review)

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Interactive Map

Zoom in to view the revised recommendations for inclusion of South African EBSAs into the upcoming Marine Spatial Planning process. Note that the proposed zonation and recommended management in transboundary EBSAs is split at the national borders, with each country responsible for EBSA management in their own jurisdiction only. Proposed Conservation Zones are given in green; proposed Impact Management Zones are given in yellow. MPA boundaries are outlined in orange. The management recommendations for each EBSA zone are the same as the sea-use guidelines in the table above, with the main activities that are currently present in the EBSA highlighted for ease of reference. These can be accessed by clicking on each EBSA zone, or by viewing the individual EBSA status assessment and management recommendations pages below. It is recommended to view the interactive map full screen.

If you would like to provide feedback on the revised proposed zoning and management recommendations for EBSAs in South Africaclick here to fill in the survey form.

 

 

View the Status Assessment and Proposed Zoning and Management Recommendations per EBSA

Note that these are living documents and updates are ongoing as the MARISMA Project unfolds. The status assessment is stable, but some of the maps, graphs and the sea-use guidelines in the proposed management section reflect previous drafts of the zoning and management recommendations; these will be updated after the next National EBSA meeting. 

Orange Seamount and Canyon Complex  |  Orange Cone   Namaqua Fossil Forest 

Childs Bank and Shelf Edge  |  Namaqua Coastal Area  |  Cape Canyon & Associated Islands, Bays & Lagoon 

Seas of Good Hope  |  Protea Seamount Cluster   Browns Bank  |  Mallory Escarpment and Trough

 Shackleton Seamount Complex  |  Agulhas Bank Nursery Area  |  Tsitsikamma-Robberg

Kingklip Corals  |  Algoa to Amathole  |  Protea Banks and Sardine Route 

KwaZulu-Natal Bight and uThukela River  |  Delagoa Shelf Edge, Canyons and Slope

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