Department of Environmental Affairs’ Oceans and Coasts
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.