De­part­ment of En­vi­ron­men­tal Af­fairs’ Oceans and Coasts

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD OCEANS DAY -

AN in­te­gral part of the De­part­ment of En­vi­ron­men­tal Af­fairs is the Oceans and Coasts Branch, which deals with the pro­mo­tion, man­age­ment and strate­gic lead­er­ship on oceans and coastal con­ser­va­tion in South Africa. The marine and coastal en­vi­ron­ments are na­tional as­sets, which pro­vide and sus­tain a wide range of eco­nomic, so­cial and eco­log­i­cal ser­vices that are a foun­da­tion for the liveli­hoods of mil­lions of South Africans.

They not only un­der­pin na­tional and in­ter­na­tional trans­port, min­ing, coastal tourism and fish­eries in­dus­tries but also are vi­tal com­po­nents of the cli­mate sys­tem as a car­bon sink and global tem­per­a­ture con­troller.

In­ves­ti­ga­tions have found that South Africa’s oceans econ­omy has po­ten­tial to con­trib­ute more than R20 bil­lion to the gross do­mes­tic prod­uct by 2019 and at least 1 mil­lion jobs by 2033. As the DEA, our role in this re­gard is par­tic­u­larly fo­cused on marine pro­tec­tion ser­vices and ocean gov­er­nance, which en­tails the pro­tec­tion of the ocean en­vi­ron­ment from all il­le­gal ac­tiv­i­ties and pro­mo­tion of its mul­ti­ple so­cio-eco­nomic ben­e­fits.

Our fo­cus is on the man­age­ment and con­ser­va­tion of our oceans and coastal en­vi­ron­ment. The pur­pose is to bring about har­mony and in­te­gra­tion of the var­i­ous role play­ers in the ocean space, but also safe­guard against any pos­si­ble com­pro­mise of the ocean en­vi­ron­ment through ap­pli­ca­tion of dif­fer­ent leg­is­la­tion rel­e­vant to oceans and coastal man­age­ment.

We also con­tinue to strengthen re­search pro­grammes for in­te­grated oceans and coastal man­age­ment. Through the South African Na­tional Antarc­tic Pro­gramme (SANAP), the de­part­ment has main­tained South Africa’s re­search pres­ence in Antarc­tica and the Prince Ed­ward Is­lands. The sci­en­tific data that is col­lected dur­ing voy­ages of SA Agul­has II

(Pic­tured above) is crit­i­cal to the un­der­stand­ing of amongst other things, the im­pacts of cli­mate change and weather in­for­ma­tion as­so­ci­ated with ex­treme events.

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