Coastal and Marine Conservation

Published: 02 September 2021
Last edited: 02 September 2021

In 2019, Shark Spotters identified the need for more practical interventions to conserve our coastline from human impacts, and therefore started a “Coastal Conservation Team”, working in partnership with the City of Cape Town to conduct proactive and reactive conservation activities that make a significant positive impact on the coastal environment. These include sand dune stabilisation and rehabilitation, removal of ghost fishing gear, vessel waste and other pollution from the coastal zone, management of stormwater outlets at the beach interface to reduce land-based pollution entering the sea, repair and removal of damaged coastal infrastructure after swell/storm damage, ocean water quality testing, responding to stranded animals and more. Their presence ensures our coastal habitat is protected from human degradation as well as the effects of climate change, and that our oceans remain healthy for sharks and other marine creatures.

During the recent pandemic, we found more and more people using the coastal zone as it was often the only "safe" exercise and recreation area. This saw an increase in pollution and other human impacts on the coast and highlighted the need for more awareness around the importance of active citizenship in protecting these areas that provide so much economic and social value to communities.

Classifications

Category
Alliance and partnership development
Education, training and other capacity development activities
Sustainable livelihoods
Scale of implementation
Local
Phase of solution
Implementation

Enabling factors

Partnerships with local authorities and identifying areas where local authorities do not have the capacity to implement practical solutions to coastal degradation issues.

Competent coastal ecology experts to guide effective conservation solutions.

Lessons learned

The need for adequate tools and equipment to complete the tasks.

The need for flexible and rapid response to coastal emergencies as they arise.

The importance of a "last line of defence" to mitigate human impacts on the marine - terrestrial interface.

The publicising of these interventions so that people are aware of their impacts on the oceans and how responsible environmental behaviour on land can reduce detrimental effects caused to the oceans.

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