There is a strong and necessary global call for the protection of more marine areas worldwide. Awareness is being created around South Africa’s marine protected areas (MPAs) by the MPA Day Alliance, which is gearing up to celebrate the inaugural MPA Day in Africa on Sunday 1 August 2021.
MPAs are the nature reserves of the ocean and sea shores. South Africa currently has 42 MPAs, which make up only 5% of our coastline. Studies have shown that MPAs have great positive impact, not only on the marine life found in these areas, but also on surrounding communities and the economy of the areas. MPAs are important because they support adjacent fisheries, ensure healthy marine animals, help with job creation, provide resilience to climate change and contribute to research.
(Feature image: Ryan Daly)
There are various levels of protection and not all MPAs are wholly protected. In many MPAs, resource use (e.g. fishing) is allowed according to strict regulations, while in other areas no resource use is permitted.
The drive to protect more of our ocean ecosystem stems from the fact that humans are deeply dependent on the ocean for the healthy future of our planet. Without a balanced and healthy ecosystem within the marine environment, we cannot have a healthy ecosystem on land. This, of course, has a great impact on humans, as well as terrestrial animals and plants.
Flow Communications is one of the MPA Day Alliance partners that have volunteered their expertise and time, free of charge, to support this worthy initiative.
“It’s a privilege to be contributing to this important cause as part of the MPA Alliance, along with the likes of the South African Association for Marine Biological Research (SAAMBR), the Two Oceans Aquarium and the Dyer Island Conservation Trust,” says Flow’s CEO, Tara Turkington.
The MPA Day Alliance is planning a number of exciting activities leading up to and on the day. Flow is hosting and providing technical support for a live online tour of four of South Africa’s MPAs on Sunday 1 August from 2pm to 3pm via Zoom. The company is also leading a Twitter chat to create a buzz around MPA Day on Sunday evening from 7pm to 8pm and is responsible for the MPA Day’s social media, including content development and community management of the MPA Day Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts. Flow has also provided media training for all the alliance spokespeople.
“Flow Communications has been a critical partner and support to the MPA Day Alliance. I’m a scientist and I knew that to make MPA Day work I had to call on competent people. Tara is my main go-to as a communications and marketing expert. She has been an incredible and steady guide and helped us improve what we do. We could not have put this all together without Flow,” says SAAMBR conservation strategist Dr Judy Mann-Lang.
“Our oceans owe Flow a huge depth of gratitude,” adds Mann-Lang. “The value of working with a team that has such passion and with which we have such good relationships can’t be underestimated.”
Here’s how you can participate:
Join the celebration of our natural and marine heritage by celebrating MPA Day on 1 August.
Join the online live tour
On MPA Day (Sunday 1 August), a live webinar will be hosted from various areas around the coast. Starting at 2pm, this exciting event will take the form of a live crossing to four South African MPAs.
Join the webinar to learn more about each of the featured MPAs, their history, ecosystems, and historical and traditional significance, and meet the people who love, make use of and protect these areas.
This online event will be ideal for families to learn about coastal areas of South Africa where they might not have been before, or to revisit areas they already know and love.
Register here (registration is free): https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_NUIo0MvOTcKJDHwB4C4awg
The first-ever MPA Day in Africa will end with an interactive and sociable Twitter chat, hosted by the members of the MPA Day Alliance, from 7pm to 8pm.
Follow MPA Day on Twitter @MPAsSA1 and be ready to answer some fun questions and show everyone your interest in these areas.
Please be sure to use the official hashtag, #MPADay.
Show off your photographic skills and win great prizes!
To get the gees going for the special day, a photographic competition gives photographers of all ages and skill levels the chance to not only show off their photography talent, but also to win some amazing prizes. Photos may be taken in any of the South African MPAs – because local is lekker.
- Find out how to enter here: https://www.saambr.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/MPA-Day-Photo-Competition-2021.pdf
- For more information about marine protected areas in South Africa, visit: https://www.marineprotectedareas.org.za/
- Follow MPA Day on Facebook (MPASouthAfrica) Twitter (@MPAsSA1) and Instagram (@marineprotectedareassa)