SANBI Marine Programme
The SANBI Marine Programme works across the science-policy continuum to deliver on the marine aspects of SANBI's mandate as outlined in the Biodiversity Act i.e. monitor and report on the state of biodiversity in South Africa's marine territory, coordinate research, provide knowledge and information, give planning and policy advice and pilot best-practice management models in partnership with stakeholders.
The Marine Programme is guided by the Biodiversity Act, the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, and the National Biodiversity Framework, as well as Outcome 10 of the President's Outcomes Approach delivery agreement with the Minister of Environmental Affairs.
What we do
SANBI's Marine Programme is uniquely placed to contribute to South Africa’s marine biodiversity sector. Our key strengths are:
- The ability to provide synthesised policy advice based on best available science from multiple sources
- The provision of independent co-ordinated science based advice to the Dept of Environmental Affairs (DEA), the Dept of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), and the Dept of Mineral Resources (DMR) and their respective stakeholders
- The ability to leverage resources and data from a network of government and other role players through a managed-network approach
- A unique position in convening and co-ordination of stakeholders
- A unique approach in working across the traditional divides of science, policy and implementation
The focus areas of this programme, achieved through the SANBI managed-network, have included assessment, monitoring, planning, mainstreaming, information management and science-based policy advice.
Where we work
The Marine Programme works at a national level, but is also involved in regional and international initiatives. Our focus is on South Africa's marine territory, which includes the Exclusive Economic Zone of mainland South Africa and the Prince Edward Islands.
Reason for our programme
Five high level objectives have been identified for SANBI’s Marine Programme:
- Priority threatened marine species and ecosystems for South Africa are identified and monitored (both spatially and thematically).
- Marine Biodiversity Information is collated and disseminated in an accessible form to researchers, planners, decision-makers and the general public.
- Innovative approaches for improved marine biodiversity information and management are piloted and mainstreamed.
- Collaborative cross-sectoral marine biodiversity programmes are co-ordinated through a collaborative approach.
- Science-based biodiversity advice and policy support is provided to DEA, DAFF & other stakeholders.
What we have achieved
The Marine Programme led the Marine and Coastal Component of the National Biodiversity Assessment 2011, published in 2012. This current assessment of the state of biodiversity in South Africa’s marine and coastal environment represents a milestone for marine biodiversity. Major new contributions include a new habitat classification, national habitat maps for the coast, ocean floor and the open ocean, a comprehensive review of pressures on marine and coastal biodiversity and a data driven assessment of biodiversity state for 136 habitat types. (Many of the products listed below are available on the Marine Products page.)
Achievements in the areas of Assessment, Monitoring and Planning
- The completion and dissemination of the National Biodiversity Assessment 2011: Marine and Coastal Component
- Science-based advice and support for marine protected area planning on the West Coast of South Africa
- The Offshore Marine Protected Area (MPA) Project developed and collated a substantial number of data layers to identify focus areas for Offshore MPA establishment through innovative spatial analysis.
- The Reef Atlas Project engaged civil society in developing the first national map of reef ecosystems to feed into the National Biodiversity Assessment
- Made significant and rapid progress in developing the first draft national marine ecosystem classification and map. (A revised more accurate digital coastline was produced.)
- Developed maps that reflect the national pressures and threats to marine biodiversity for the first time. These maps include data for 11 fisheries sectors, diamond mining, petroleum, shipping, naval activities and more than 10 layers reflecting coastal pressures such as access and climate change.
Achievements in piloting of innovative ideas and Biodiversity Mainstreaming
- Inclusion of marine information in the Mining and Biodiversity Guidelines
- Co-ordinated scientific advice to support a Biodiversity Action Plan that identifies thematic and spatial biodiversity priority actions in the De Beers Offshore Diamond Mining lease area.
- Partnered with DEA, DAFF & South African Environmental Observation Node (SAEON) in a collaborative research project with the oil and gas sector to build the biodiversity knowledge base to support decision making and biodiversity management for this important sector.
- Partnered with the trawling industry, DAFF and SAEON to support the eco-certification of South Africa’s hake fishery through the development of a collaborative experimental closure on South Africa’s west coast
Achievements in the area of Information Management
- Substantial new marine & coastal spatial data sets have been developed and collated dramatically increasing the knowledge base to support spatial planning and MPA establishment.
- Developed an image database to collate more than 1000 images of marine threatened species and rare images of deep water ecosystems and species that rely on expensive technology accessed through offshore industry collaboration
- Collating of information to support assessment of marine species status
- Developing a digital linefish database & a collaborative project with DAFF & the Oceangraphic Research Institute (ORI) to update linefish status reports and make this information accessible through websites
Achievements in the area of Science-based Advice and Policy
SANBI has provided co-ordinated scientific advice, including to DEA, DAFF, DMR and Protected Area agencies. Advice has centred on:
- Protected area planning and management
- Threatened species
- Ecosystem-based management of the marine environment through Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries (EAF)
- Co-ordination of scientific review of SASSI list assessments
- Policy advice on introduced and invasive species, mariculture, bioprospecting and small-scale fisheries
Who we are
The Marine Program is based in Cape Town at the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens.
Dr Kerry Sink – Marine Programme Manager
Telephone: 021 799 8855
Ms Prideel Majiedt – Marine Projects Manager
Telephone: 021 799 8826