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WWF Forum establishes a clear strategy for the future management of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)

 

The need to create more awareness, appreciation, better support and understanding of MPAs was the clear and distinct message emanating out of the annual WWF Forum held recently in Still Bay from 6 to 9 November 2011.

 

 

With Honda as the WWF’s primary partner in managing MPAs in South Africa, it is clear that the main goal of developing a Marine Parks Support Unit that brings together the strengths and competencies of national government, the relevant conservation agencies, the private sector and civil society, has gained much momentum since its inception some five years ago.

Of the 23 MPAs, many are now running Honda-powered patrol and research craft, the skills and capacity of the MPA Management teams are being effectively developed, whilst suitable management plans inclusive of compliance and monitoring have been implemented.

What’s more, a vastly improved level of public awareness support has been built up for the MPAs, a process that is very much ongoing, to ensure that the WWF Honda Marine Parks Programme is constantly expanding into new areas and effectively protecting the diverse marine biodiversity of South Africa.

With 2012 being the ‘International Year for Marine’ at the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), it was encouraging to see Dr Razeena Omar, the Director of Coastal Management, attending the Forum along with her newly appointed colleague, Xola Mkefe. Together with their counterparts from the Department of Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), they have a crucial role to play in ensuring the ongoing success of the WWF Honda Marine Parks Programme, as well as in its future expansion.

 

One such project is the establishment of an ‘Offshore Spatial Management Network for South Africa’, essentially the setting up of offshore MPAs to protect future fisheries – a project that has taken four years of research and stakeholder participation to realise, but that is now ready for implementation.

Now it is primarily a question for all involved parties to work towards the three overriding objectives of all MPAs, namely: 1. the protection of marine life; 2. the facilitation of fisheries management and 3. the reduction of user-conflict, establishment of an overriding synergy in terms of the overall strategy and its all-important implementation.

As was clearly stated at the Forum by Clinton Lambert, the Divisional Manager for Honda Marine South Africa, ‘In conjunction with our partners, the WWF, Honda Marine SA is totally committed to the MPA programme both now and into the future. So much has already been achieved, but there is much work still to be done to protect SA’s marine biodiversity for future generations.’

Honda Marine SA’s commitment to the Parks Programme was clearly illustrated by the array of Honda-powered HonWave inflatable boats, as well as a Falcon 7.6m RIB powered by 2 x Honda BF115HP outboard engines that were both on display and then later tested by many of the delegates attending the event. It’s these very Honda-powered craft that enable the teams managing the MPAs to carry out their all-important work, whether for research, patrolling or compliance.


Honda Marine, a division of Honda Motor Southern Africa (Pty) Ltd, manufactures and markets a complete range of outboard marine engines. Their comprehensive product line is powered exclusively by four-stroke engines.

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