NRF-SAIAB Seminar Series presentation by Enya Munting

NRF-SAIAB Seminar Series presentation by Enya Munting

Understanding the impacts of Marine Protected Areas on the Commercial Linefishing sector in KwaZulu-Natal as a first step towards sustainable MPA governance

By: Enya Munting
Research Student, NRF-SAIAB

The Recording is now available on the NRF-SAIAB YouTube Channel:

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in South Africa are typically gazetted with stated objectives. Recovery of linefish resources and fisheries sustainability is one objective shared by all KwaZulu-Natal´s (KZN) MPAs. My MSc looks at providing a Social-Ecological Systems baseline from which to measure the impacts of the MPAs in KZN on the commercial linefishing sector. I assessed impacts from an ecological and social perspective. To assess ecological effectiveness, I used Baited Remote Underwater Stereo-Video Systems (stereo-BRUVs) data to compare fish populations inside and outside five MPAs, focusing on species on mesophotic reefs which are important to the commercial linefishing sector. Initial results for this component indicate that most MPAs are ecologically effective, with no-take areas containing more and bigger mature linefish than exploited areas.

However, in the Anthropocene, we must consider humans as part of the systems we manage. MPAs are a case in point: compliance plays a disproportionate role in determining their effectiveness, and the perceptions of communities living adjacent to MPAs are strongly linked to their willingness to support and abide by MPA rules. Therefore, the perceptions of commercial linefishers regarding the impacts of MPAs and their management on their sector were gathered by means of open-ended, face-to-face interviews. Fishers´ expert knowledge indicates that the sustainability and overall effectiveness of the MPA network are compromised by insufficient and ineffective enforcement, as well as insufficiently diverse sources of information for decision-making processes. The future management of MPAs in KZN could, therefore, benefit from co-management agreements.

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