If you wish to provide feedback on the revised environmental ask for inclusion of this EBSA into the upcoming Marine Spatial Planning process, please fill in the survey form

Data used in the analyses below (ecological condition, threat status, protection, distribution of activities, cumulative pressure from activities) are from the National Biodiversity Assessment 2018: Marine Realm Assessment. See the NBA 2018 website for access to the report.

 

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 SA EBSA status and management home page

 

 

EBSA overview

Seas of Good Hope contains a rich diversity and is of special importance for threatened species and habitats. It also supports key life-history stages, notably for some of the threatened species and numerous species of top predators and marine mammals. The EBSA wraps around Cape Point to the southernmost tip of Africa, and thus includes the meeting point of the Agulhas and Benguela Currents.

Click here for the full EBSA description

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

Seas of Good Hope is one of the most diverse EBSAs in South Africa, with 34 ecosystem types represented. Consequently, there are many 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, importance for threatened species and habitats, and biological diversity. There are many rocky or hard-ground ecosystem types that support fragile habitat-forming species, kelp forests that contribute to the nursery function of the EBSA, islands and bays that support rich communities of top predators, including seabirds, sharks and seals, as well as numerous cetaceans. The EBSA is especially important in providing foraging and breeding sites for these (often threatened) top predators. 

 

Seas of Good Hope proportion of area in each ecological condition category.

 

Seas of Good Hope is heavily utilized, and as a result, is in poor (53%) or fair (46%) ecological condition, with a fraction (1%) still in good ecological condition as a result of the Betty’s Bay MPA. Consequently, the ecosystem types represented here are either Vulnerable (70%) or Near Threatened (30%).

 

 Seas of Good Hope proportion of area in each ecosystem threat status category.

 

Seas of Good Hope proportion of area in a Marine Protected Area (MPA).

 

Proclamation of the Operation Phakisa MPA network did not affect this area because no new MPAs were declared inside the EBSA footprint, and thus it remains at 13% protection. The existing MPAs include Table Mountain National Park that wraps around the False Bay peninsula; Betty’s Bay and Walker Bay MPAs. Most of the ecosystem types represented in this EBSA are either Moderately or Well 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

Agulhas Boulder Shore

NT

WP

5.3

64.5

30.2

Agulhas Dissipative Intermediate Sandy Shore

LC

WP

49.3

26.7

24.0

Agulhas Dissipative Sandy Shore

NT

WP

38.1

37.7

24.2

Agulhas Exposed Rocky Shore

VU

MP

7.2

29.5

63.3

Agulhas Inner Shelf Mosaic

VU

MP

0.0

23.5

76.5

Agulhas Intermediate Sandy Shore

LC

MP

69.2

23.9

6.9

Agulhas Island

VU

WP

0.0

1.8

98.2

Agulhas Kelp Forest

VU

MP

4.3

22.1

73.7

Agulhas Mid Shelf Mosaic

NT

MP

0.0

36.2

63.7

Agulhas Mixed Shore

NT

MP

5.0

38.0

57.0

Agulhas Reflective Sandy Shore

VU

PP

4.8

54.4

40.8

Agulhas Sheltered Rocky Shore

EN

MP

0.7

5.8

93.6

Agulhas Very Exposed Rocky Shore

VU

MP

12.8

60.7

26.5

Cape Boulder Shore

VU

MP

8.5

56.0

35.5

Cape Exposed Rocky Shore

VU

MP

15.5

61.4

23.1

Cape Island

EN

MP

0.0

0.0

100.0

Cape Kelp Forest

VU

MP

3.8

9.6

86.6

Cape Mixed Shore

VU

MP

15.6

50.1

34.3

Cape Rocky Inner Shelf

VU

MP

0.0

0.8

99.2

Cape Rocky Mid Shelf Mosaic

VU

MP

0.0

2.5

97.5

Cape Sheltered Rocky Shore

EN

PP

0.0

0.0

100.0

Cape Very Exposed Rocky Shore

NT

WP

31.1

66.3

2.5

Cool Temperate Estuarine Lake

EN

PP

69.7

4.9

25.4

Cool Temperate Large Temporarily Closed

CR

PP

12.7

29.0

58.3

Cool Temperate Micro-estuary

NA

NA

60.3

2.9

36.8

Cool Temperate Predominantly Open

EN

NP

0.0

3.7

96.3

Cool Temperate Small Temporarily Closed

EN

WP

41.5

5.1

53.4

False and Walker Bay

VU

MP

0.9

38.8

60.2

Southern Benguela Dissipative Intermediate Sandy Shore

LC

WP

42.2

11.3

46.5

Southern Benguela Dissipative Sandy Shore

LC

WP

84.5

1.8

13.7

Southern Benguela Intermediate Sandy Shore

NT

PP

31.9

66.8

1.3

Southern Benguela Reflective Sandy Shore

EN

MP

41.3

52.8

6.0

Warm Temperate Estuarine Lake

EN

MP

0.0

100.0

0.0

Western Agulhas Outer Shelf Mosaic

VU

NP

0.1

81.8

18.1

Other Features

  • Breeding and foraging grounds for seals, seabirds, sharks and cetaceans
  • Surf diatom accumulations
  • Colonies of African penguins and seals
  • Spawning area for commercially important fish species

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Relevant Pressures and Activities (impact, extent)

  • There are 19 pressures present in this EBSA, of which shipping is the only one that covers the entire EBSA extent and has the highest cumulative pressure profile.
  • Key pressures in this EBSA that most directly impact the features for which the EBSA is described include: linefishing and small pelagic fishing. These activities cover most of the EBSA, and will need to be well managed in order to protect the foraging resources that support the top predators, the latter of which is fundamental to the area being recognised as an EBSA. For both fishing activities, the footprint is split approximately equally between the Conservation and Impact Management Zones, with a slightly larger portion in the Impact Management Zone.
  • Twelve of the 19 pressures each comprise <1% of the EBSA pressure profile, and a further four comprise <4%, including: west coast rock lobster harvesting, alien invasive species, squid fishing, tuna pole fishing, coastal disturbance, wastewater discharge, kelp harvesting, coastal development, recreational shore angling, abalone harvesting, ports and harbours, inshore trawling, subsistence harvesting, beach seining, naval dumping (ammunition), and mining (prospecting and mining).
  • Activities in South Africa that are not present in this EBSA include: benthic (hake) longlining, dredge spoil dumping, gillnetting, mariculture, mean annual runoff reduction, midwater trawling, oil and gas (exploration and production), oyster harvesting, pelagic longlining, prawn trawling, shark netting, south coast rock lobster harvesting, and offshore trawling.

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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 pressures from coastal disturbance to mining (prospecting and mining) each comprise <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 Biodiversity Conservation Zone and an Environmental Impact Management Zone, both comprising several areas within the EBSA. The aim of the Biodiversity 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 are incompatible with the management objective of this zone. If the activity is permitted, it would require alternative Biodiversity Conservation Zones or offsets to be identified. If this is not possible, it is recommended that the activity is Prohibited. Where possible and appropriate, the Biodiversity Conservation Zones should be considered for formal protection e.g., Marine Protected Areas or Other Effective Area-Based Conservation Measures (OECM). The aim of the Environmental 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 that have significant biodiversity impacts should be strictly controlled and/or regulated. Within this zone, ideally 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 Biodiversity Conservation Zone was designed deliberately to avoid conflicts with existing activities.  It also includes four MPAs that are wholly or partially within the EBSA: Table Mountain MPA; Helderberg MPA; Betty’s Bay MPA; and Walker Bay Whale Sanctuary MPA. The activities permitted within these MPAs are not considered as part of the EBSA management recommendations because these are as per their respective gazetted regulations.

Table Mountain National Park MPA (proclaimed 2004)

https://www.gov.za/sites/default/files/gcis_document/201409/264310.pdf  

Helderberg (proclaimed 1991, revised 2000)

https://www.environment.gov.za/sites/default/files/gazetted_notices/mlra_marineprotected_areasdeclaration_g21948rg6978gen1429.pdf

Betty’s Bay (proclaimed 1981, revised 2000)

https://www.environment.gov.za/sites/default/files/gazetted_notices/mlra_marineprotected_areasdeclaration_g21948rg6978gen1429.pdf

Walker Bay Whale Sanctuary MPA (proclaimed 2001)

https://cer.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/MPA-Walker-Bay-Whale-Sanctuary.pdf

 

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.

 

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 (MSP) 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 Biodiversity Conservation and Environmental Impact Management Zones.

Based on the compatibility of sea-use activities with the management objective of each EBSA zone (see table below, from the sea-use guidelines of the National Coastal and Marine Spatial Biodiversity Plan), it is recommended for MSP that compatible activities are managed as General activities, which are those that are permitted and regulated by current general rules and legislation. Activities that are conditional are recommended to be managed as Consent activities, which are those that can continue in the zone subject to specific regulations and controls, e.g., to avoid unacceptable impacts on biodiversity features, or to avoid intensification or expansion of impact footprints of uses that are already occurring and where there are no realistic prospects of excluding these activities. Activities that are not compatible are recommended to be Prohibited, where such activities are not allowed or should not be allowed (which may be through industry-specific regulations) because they are incompatible with maintaining the biodiversity objectives of the zone. These recommendations are subject to stakeholder negotiation through the MSP process, recognizing that there will likely need to be significant compromises among sectors. It is emphasized, as noted above, that if activities that are not compatible with the respective EBSA zones are permitted, it would require alternative Biodiversity Conservation Zones or offsets to be identified. If this is not possible, it is recommended that the activity is Prohibited.

 

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 EBSA’s 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, with major activities that are present in the EBSA shaded in grey.

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 beyond the jurisdiction of MSP management to support securing key biodiversity features within the EBSA.

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Activity Evaluation Per Zone: Zoning Feasibility

[To be updated]

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.

There are numerous coastal activities in this EBSA that each comprise a notable proportion of their respective national footprints because the area has a high coastal population density and the coast is heavily utilised relative to its use in many other parts of the country. These activities contribute very little to the overall impact on the EBSA because they are generally confined to discrete areas along the shore or in shallow waters. Nevertheless, they still need careful management given their cumulative impacts on coastal biodiversity, which is important in this area.

Key activities taking place in this EBSA include kelp harvesting and west coast lobster harvesting, with more than 50% of the national footprint of these activities inside the EBSA. Abalone harvesting and recreational shore angling are also important activities, with more than 20% of the national footprint of these activities inside the EBSA. All four activities are recommended to continue as Consent activities in both the Conservation and Impact Management Zones. Other activities relating to marine-living-resource extraction include small pelagics fishing, linefishing (commercial and recreational), beach seining and, to a lesser extent (<10% of the national footprint of the respective activities), subsistence harvesting, squid fishing and tuna pole fishing. All these activities are recommended to be Consent activities within both EBSA zones. Inshore trawling is also present, but comprises <0.2% of the national footprint and is present as only a small patch inside Table Mountain National Park MPA, where it is managed in accordance with the MPA regulations.

Dumping ammunition at sea historically occurred within the EBSA, but is no longer an active activity in South Africa. The sites where ammunition was dumped are within both the Conservation and Impact Management Zones where it is listed as a Consent activity. The EBSA includes the major Cape Town Port and several minor harbours within the Conservation and Impact Management Zone. Port and harbour activities should be carefully managed to avoid unacceptable impacts on adjacent Conservation Zones. Particularly, careful management of mariculture operations and ports and harbours are necessary to avoid the introduction of additional alien invasive species. Shipping is recommended to continue in both the Conservation and Impact Management Zone under current general rules and legislation. Thus, in all cases, 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., from mean annual runoff reduction, 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, investment in eradicating the alien invasive species could aid in improving the ecological condition of rocky and mixed shores, improving benefits for subsistence and recreational harvesting; and 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 estuary management through development of appropriate freshwater flow requirements, estuarine management plans and wastewater management regulations can improve the ecological condition of the surrounding marine environment, in turn, improving water quality and safe conditions for human recreation.

 

Research Needs

There are no specific research needs for this EBSA in addition to those for all EBSAs.

 

Future Process

It is unclear if this EBSA will be subject to detailed attention in the MARISMA EBSA status assessment and management options workplan.

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