Ocean stewardship | WWF South Africa
©: Thomas P. Peschak

The oceans are used for fishing, recreation, commerce and transportation among others and they provide a wealth of natural resources including minerals. These activities not only help fuel South Africa’s economy, but are important to the social and cultural context of our country.

The management of these multiple uses and expectations from our oceans and coasts remains a major challenge. Triggered by growing conflicts over resources and other effects of over-use, various activities have been regulated independently of each other over time in a reactive and often ad hoc manner. We now have a patchwork of laws and institutions that do not cover all ocean areas or sectors in an integrated way. This has resulted in escalating unsustainable resource use, pollution and habitat destruction.

Faced with increasing resource and user conflicts, there is a need to take a more comprehensive, holistic, and integrated approach to marine resource management. This approach, broadly known as integrated ocean management, recognises that in order to achieve sustainable development of coastal and ocean areas, management needs to incorporate the full range of interactions within an ecosystem – including relevant social systems –  rather than focusing on individual uses, species or ecosystem services.

WWF is working with a range of partners to identify the most significant and sensitive places for both wildlife and people. We also work to implement solutions that can conserve the marine environment through mechanisms such as marine protected areas as well as meeting local communities’ food and cultural needs and facilitating economic development. 

Although the oceans play a critical role in regulating our climate and providing food and other services, less than 4% are formally protected compared to some 15% of our terrestrial areas. Read more here.

Our oceans are becoming ever more crowded spaces, and with this growing pressure come a number of environmental and social impacts as well as complex challenges. Read more here.

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.

WWF-SASSI was initiated in collaboration with networking partners in 2004 to educate those in the seafood trade from wholesalers to restaurateurs through to seafood lovers about what sustainable seafood is. This is primarily achieved through the development of a seafood sustainability ‘traffic light’ system that divides species into Green-list (sustainable choice), Orange-list (think twice) and Red-list (avoid). Read more here.

Our marine heritage