After the Inaugural Marine Protected Areas (MPA) Day on August 1 in 2021 was a roaring success, this year’s instalment is set to go global with a number of activities planned at home and abroad.
South Africa has 41 MPAs, but they only make up 41% of the country’s ocean and coast. In the same way a nature reserve protects terrestrial plants and animals, MPAs serve to protect the inhabitants of the ocean.
‘We are very excited about this year’s MPA Day which will be celebrated across the world,’ said Dr Judy Mann, Executive of Strategic Projects of the Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation.
‘We have new partners to join our incredible team, and we hope to make MPA Day even more accessible to its global supporters. A few other countries will be joining us as we work towards our dream of making MPA Day a truly international celebration.’
How can you celebrate MPA Day 2022?
Scientists will be coming ashore this year, to join youth groups exploring South Africa’s MPA. There will also be an MPA Day Essay and Art Competition for children run by the Youth4MPAs collective.
At 7pm on Monday, 1 August the MPA Alliance will host a special webinar with five leading South African marine scientists to share the latest research on MPAs. This year will also see the launch of the Citizen Science initiative. Visit MPA Day — Marine Protected Areas South Africa for more information about our MPAs and MPA Day or download the full activity list here.
Some of the benefits of MPA’s include
- Providing a home to rare and endangered species thereby ensuring marine biodiversity.
- Allowing fish stocks to increase in size and abundance, supporting adjacent fisheries.
- Protecting cultural heritage connected to the ocean.
- Providing beautiful spaces for recreational activities, thereby promoting tourism.
- Providing educational centres for environmental learning. ·
- Providing a solid foundation for researching the natural world.
- Absorbing enormous amounts of carbon dioxide helps to create a buffer against climate change.
- Creating a marine wildlife economy for sustainable job creation.