Marine | WWF South Africa
©: Thomas P. Peschak

Many more species live in these vast oceans than on land. From the ice-bound polar regions to the warm waters of the tropics they are home to an incredible diversity of iconic species such as sharks, turtles, whales and more.

Oceans are also critical for people as a source of food, culture and history. Every year they feed over a billion people and it is estimated that between 10 and 12% of the world’s population relies on fishing and fishing-related activities for their livelihoods.

With more ocean territory than land, and surrounded by the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, South Africa is home to some of the most productive and diverse marine ecosystems in the world. Over 12 000 species are known to occur in our waters, with almost a third of these species found nowhere else on earth.

From the cold, nutrient rich waters along our West Coast to the tropical reef ecosystems on the East Coast, our oceans support thousands of livelihoods from commercial to small-scale fishing, tourism to transport. With the growing pressures of increasing human populations and encroaching coastal development, the long-term survival of many of these natural systems – and the people that rely on them – are under threat from risks such as overfishing, climate change and pollution.

We are working towards creating healthy and resilient oceans which support abundant biodiversity, sustainable livelihoods and thriving economies. To achieve this vision WWF engages with governments, business and civil society to develop an integrated approach towards how we look after our oceans – one which recognises the importance of both ocean stewardship and sustainable fisheries in creating a world where we live in harmony with our oceans.

Seafood continues to be one of the most traded food commodities worldwide. As a result the fisheries and aquaculture (fish farming) sectors are key sources of employment and income, supporting the livelihoods of a significant number of the world’s population. Read more here.

Our marine environment holds great economic value, with coastal goods and services contributing significantly to South Africa’s gross domestic product. Read more here.

Useful links

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Our oceans are precious.

Hold your seafood supplier to account

This World Fisheries Day, we are calling on consumers to hold retailers, suppliers and restaurant owners to account when it comes to the commitments ...

21 Nov 2016 Read more »
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Peek into 2016's highlights in WWF-SA's latest annual report.

WWF Annual Report 2016

Explore WWF South Africa's progress in 2016 with the latest annual report.

18 Nov 2016 Read more »
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The past five years have seen WCRL stocks decline in overall abundance by around 20%.

WWF-SA challenges unsustainable quotas for West Coast rock lobster industry

New total allowable catch puts fishery at risk of imminent collapse and puts coastal livelihoods at risk.

18 Nov 2016 Read more »
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The year 2016 marks a laudable milestone in the history of wetland conservation in South Africa: the 25th anniversary of the WW F-Mondi Wetlands Programme (WW F MWP). As one of the country’s longest running privately funded conservation programmes, it has stimulated an understanding of the important role wetlands play and helped move wetlands to the forefront of conservation efforts over the past 25 years. Just as importantly, it has driven change in the way wetlands are identified, delineated, restored and protected across sectors in South Africa and beyond. This publication tells the story of the programme’s rich history and key achievements.

WWF-Mondi Wetlands Programme: Celebrating 25 Years

For 25 years the WWF-Mondi Wetlands Programme has been at the forefront of wetlands conservation

27 Oct 2016 Read more »