The SA Agulhas II has made headlines this week with its return to South African waters.
The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) welcomed back the research team, consisting of international scientists and members of the CSIR, after their latest three-month research mission to Antarctica.
DEA spokesperson, Zolile Nqayi, said, “The teams who participate in the research are different each time, conducting different types of research. Gough Islands, in the South Atlantic Ocean, will be the next expedition with weather-related research. It is scheduled for March.”
The announcement by Minister of Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa, that 22 new Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are in the pipeline along the South African coastline also made headlines this week.
The proposed area covers a massive 70,000 km² and if all 22 of the proposed areas are declared Marine Protected Areas, the result will be that just over five percent of South Africa’s ocean will be protected, a vast improvement on the 0.5 percent of marine ecosystems that are presently protected by existing MRAs.
The aim behind these protected areas is to promote biodiversity, restore fishing balances, promote tourism and serve as areas to support scientific research.