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News: Sea World Launches New Exhibit

New uShaka Sea World Exhibit

uShaka Sea World Launches an Exciting New Exhibit to Celebrate our Ocean Heritage and showcase the 22 new Marine Protected Areas (MPA’s) proposed for South Africa.

While terrestrial protected areas are well known in South Africa, the same cannot be said for their marine counterparts. A Marine Protected Area is an area of coastline or ocean that is specially protected for the benefit of people and nature. They are places where marine life can thrive, reproduce and grow.

In a recent survey only 10% of visitors to uShaka Sea World could name one of South Africa’s MPAs. It was for this reason that Sea World decided to create a new exhibit in the aquarium at uShaka Marine World showcasing Marine Protected Areas. This exhibit will help visitors to learn more about and understand these valuable areas in need of our protection.

Currently only 0.4% of South Africa’s ocean territory is protected. In KZN the Aliwal Shoal Marine Protected Area and the iSimangaliso Marine Protected Area protect critical biodiversity along the shore, but, offshore we have no areas of the ocean protected.

This means that critical habitats such as canyons and corals that are hundreds of years old, endemic fish found nowhere else in the world and unique gathering places for sharks, amongst other unique features, are currently vulnerable to fishing and mining pressures.
The new MPAs will help to protect the unique offshore natural assets of KZN and South Africa.

Sea World CEO Dr Larry Oellermann is passionate about the critical role that MPAs play in conserving our ocean heritage. “MPAs are one of the best ways we have to protect the marine environment. An environment that must be protected if we are to continue to gain from the benefits it provides”.

Sea World, through the work of the Oceanographic Research Institute, is proud to have been a partner in many of the research initiatives that have helped to uncover these exciting new ecosystems and the life they contain.