Environmental Management

, Volume 47, Issue 4, pp 573–583

Marine Protected Area Management in South Africa: New Policies, Old Paradigms

Authors

    • Environmental Evaluation Unit, Department of Environmental and Geographical ScienceUniversity of Cape Town
  • Maria Hauck
    • Environmental Evaluation Unit, Department of Environmental and Geographical ScienceUniversity of Cape Town
  • Lance van Sittert
    • History Studies DepartmentUniversity of Cape Town
  • Jackie Sunde
    • Environmental Evaluation Unit, Department of Environmental and Geographical ScienceUniversity of Cape Town
Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00267-010-9499-x

Cite this article as:
Sowman, M., Hauck, M., van Sittert, L. et al. Environmental Management (2011) 47: 573. doi:10.1007/s00267-010-9499-x

Abstract

A historical perspective on MPA identification and governance in South Africa reflects the continued influence of a top-down and natural science-based paradigm, that has hardly changed over the past half century, despite the wealth of literature, and a growing consensus, that advocates the need to adopt a more integrated and human-centered approach. Based on extensive research in two coastal fishing communities, the paper highlights impacts and conflicts arising from this conventional approach to MPA identification, planning and management. It argues that failure to understand the particular fishery system in all its complexity, in particular the human dimensions, and involve resource users in planning and decision-making processes, undermines efforts to achieve conservation and fisheries management objectives. The customary rights of local resource users, and their food and livelihood needs in relation to marine resources, need to be acknowledged, prioritized and integrated into planning and decision-making processes. Convincing ecologists, fisheries scientists and managers, that MPA success depends on addressing the root causes of resource decline and incorporating social factors into MPA identification, planning and management, remains a huge challenge in South Africa.

Keywords

Marine protected areasSouth AfricaHuman dimensionsCustomary rightsSocial factors

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010