Marine Protected Areas of the West Coast National Park Featured Hot

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Aerial view of 16-mile beach marine protected area_©PeterChadwick_AfricanConservationPhotographer.jpg

The West Coast National Park that falls under the  South African National Parks is responsible for the management of the Sixteen-mile Beach, Langebaan Lagoon, Malgas Island, Jutten Island and Marcus Island marine protected areas

The Langebaan Lagoon is the only non-estuarine tidal lagoon in South Africa, protecting about 32% of South Africa’s saltmarshes. It is an important non-breeding site for hundreds of thousands of Palaearctic migrant waders during the summer months.

Langebaan Lagoon has a rich marine invertebrate fauna of more than 400 species having been recorded and the lagoon is one of two habitats for South Africa’s most endangered marine mollusc, Siphonaria. Another small mollusc Assiminea globulus constitutes about 63 % of the invertebrate biomass in the surface layers of the intertidal mudflats of the lagoon, and it is the major prey item of the Curlew, which is the most abundant migrant wader.

29 bony fish species and 12 shark and ray species have been recorded in the lagoon with the sandshark Rhinobatos annulatus being an important predator due to its numbers and biomass. Important recreational and commercial linefish species such as Geelbek, Cape Stumpnose, Snoek and Yellowtail occur within the lagoon.

Malgas, Jutten, Schaapen and Marcus Island are vitally important as seabird breeding islands with Malgas Island being one of only three islands in South Africa where Cape Gannet breed. Approximately 30 percent of the world's population of African Black Oystercatchers breed on these islands. The endangered Bank Cormorant - whose numbers have plummeted from 8 700 breeding pairs in 1980 to a current number of 4 900 pairs - also breed on these islands. The largest known colony of Kelp Gulls in Southern Africa is found on Schaapen Island.

The Langebaan Lagoon is divided into three zones:
A – Controlled Zone where recreational fishing and power boating is allowed.
B – Restricted Zone, where no fishing is allowed and only non-powered vessels such as sailing and canoeing are permitted.
C – The Sanctuary Zone where no access is allowed due to the sensitivity of this section.
No fishing from the shore is allowed along the Sixteen-mile beach nor is it allowed around the shores of any of the islands.

Tsaarsbank_PeterChadwick_AfricanConservationPhotographer1 of 12: Tsaarsbank Marine Protected Area signage.

Rolling waves along the 16-mile beach MPA_PeterChadwick_AfricanConservationPhotographer2 of 12: Large rolling waves crash against the shoreline of the 16-mile beach marine protected area.

Feeding Kelp Gull_ PeterChadwick_AfricanConservationPhotographer3 of 12: A Kelp Gull feeds on a rocky platform that has been exposed on an out-going tide and as large waves still crash over it.

Shells washed ashore after a storm_PeterChadwick_AfricanConservationPhotographer4 of 12: A large pile of shells lie washed ashore after a heavy winters storm and showing the richness of the marine protected area.

Aerial image of the Langebaan Lagoon_PeterChadwick_AfricanConservationPhotographer5 of 12: An aerial image of the Langebaan Lagoon marine protected area and showing the various islnds that are important seabird breeding areas.

Cape Gannets_PeterChadwick_AfricanConservationPhotographer6 of 12: Malgas Island is critically important as a breeding island to Cape Gannets and other seabirds.

African Black Oystercatcher nest_PeterChadwick_AfricanConservationPhotographer7 of 12: The well-concealed nest of an African Black Oystercatcher on Malgas Ilsand.

Salt Marshes of the Langebaan Lagoon_PeterChadwick_AfricanConservationPhotographer8 of 12: An aerial view of the salt-marshes that line Langebaan Lagoon and that are a driving force for the incredible biological diversity found within and around the lagoon.

Sanderling_PeterChadwick_AfricanConservationPhotographer9 of 12: A Sanderling feeds on an exposed rocky platform at low-tide.

Preekstoel_PeterChadwick_AfricanConservationPhotographer10 of 12: The Prrekstoel lies on the edge of Langebaan Lagoon and is a popular tourist destination.

Bull Ray_PeterChadwick_AfricanConservationPhotographer11 of 12: A Bull-Ray swims in the shallow water of the Langebaan Lagoon feeding on hermit crabs and molluscs.

Rising Mullet_PeterChadwick_AfricanConservationPhotographer12 of 12: A school of Southern Mullet rise to the surface at dusk to feed within the protection of the Lagoon.

 

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Peter Chadwick
Author: Peter ChadwickWebsite: http://www.peterchadwick.co.zaEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
About
As a dedicated conservationist, Peter Chadwick has 30 years strategic and operational conservation experience in terrestrial and marine protected area management. He has worked within all of the major biomes in southern Africa as well as having provided expert conservation advice at a global level. His conservation and wildlife photography is a natural extension to his conservation work where he has numerous opportunities to capture photographs that showcase the beauty and complexity of the outdoors. Peter’s photography is internationally recognized, with this work appearing globally in a wide range of print and electronic media.