Addo Elephant National Park Marine Protected Area Management PlanPosition: Collaborator
Duties: Project design and fieldwork
Supporters: South African National Parks; Enviro Fish Africa; World Bank World Wide Fund; South African Environmental Observation Network
MPAs have long been advocated as a viable alternative to conventional fisheries management and biodiversity conservation. A new MPA has been proposed in Algoa Bay, adjoining the terrestrial Greater Addo Elephant National Park (GAENP). Due to the large size and location of the proposed MPA it will be the first to incorporate a bay environment, exposed rocky headlands and offshore islands. A survey was initiated in 2006 to describe the key habitats, assess their level of exploitation and evaluate their importance for conservation planning. This presentation focuses on the experimental design for the assessment of the subtidal reef environment and preliminary results.
A bathymetric survey was undertaken using a colour echo sounder and GPS receiver on a small skiboat. This allowed for the production of bathymetric maps of key habitats in the MPA which were then used to stratify sampling effort over reef depth and profile. The ongoing seasonal sampling of the macro-benthic invertebrate and fish community structure identified differences between key habitats. Furthermore, reef topography and abiotoc factors influenced community structure within key habitats. These results are used to assess the importance of the different key habitats in the conservation of exploited reef species within the proposed MPA. The potential of the sampling design to detect long-term community level environmental changes in a proposed monitoring programme is evaluated.