South Africa designates the World’s fourth largest MPA in the sub-Antarctic


The South African Minister of Environmental Affairs & Tourism, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, will today gazette a proposal to create one of the largest Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the World around the sub-Antarctic Prince Edward Islands in the southern Indian Ocean (go to

The objectives of the new MPA are:


·                to contribute to a national and global system of protected areas,

·                to provide scientific reference points for research,

·                to contribute to the ecologically sustainable management of marine resources, and

·                to reduce ecological impacts of fisheries, including on important populations of ACAP-listed species.


The MPA will consist of a 12-nautical mile (22.2 km) Sanctuary Area around the islands, where all activities will be strictly controlled and no fishing will be allowed. Secondly there will be four Restricted Areas, in three of which very limited fishing will be allowed, including for the purpose of scientifically monitoring the stocks of Patagonian Toothfish Dissostichus eleginoides.


In the Controlled Areas, which comprise the rest of the MPA, fishing will be allowed with certain gear types only, excluding bottom trawling for example. All fishing vessels will have observers on board to ensure that the regulatory measures are respected, including mitigation measures to protect seabirds.


Comments on the Prince Edward Islands MPA as proposed in the South African Government Gazette will be received until 6 July 2009, submitted to Esta dirección de correo electrónico está siendo protegida contra los robots de spam. Necesita tener JavaScript habilitado para poder verlo..


At 180 000 square kilometres the Prince Edward Islands will become the fourth largest MPA in the World.


The world’s five largest Marine Protected Areas are: 

1 = North Western Hawaiian Islands (USA) = 363 000 km square.

2 = Great Barrier Reef (Australia) at 344 000 km square

3 = Phoenix Islands at 184 000 km square.

4 = (To be) Prince Edward Islands at 180 000 km square.

5 = Australia’s sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island at 162 000 km square.



See also for news of WWF-South Africa's involvement.



 Posted by John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 08 May 2009 

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