Title State of the oceans around South Africa: 2014

Hans Verheye
Oceans and Coastal Research, Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE)

Robert Crawford
Oceans and Coastal Research, Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE)

Publisher Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (2019)

Contact Person: Jimmy Khanyile
Oceans and Coastal Research, Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE), email: Jkhanyile@environment.gov.za

Abstract Please note that the contact information included in the report is superseded by the contact information that can be found in the Responsible Parties field of this metadata record. A series of reports on State of the Oceans around South Africa, produced by Branch Oceans and Coasts of South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs, was introduced in December 2006. The reports initially considered environmental parameters for the purposes of establishing general principles, such as annual cycles, and long-term trends, which may provide insight into the local effects of global warming and climate change. The reports were intended to provide an overview of marine environmental conditions that prevailed during the preceding year, which may be of relevance to the management of South Africa’s marine and coastal resources and infrastructure. To this end, use was made of data from a variety of sources, including websites, satellite sensors, the South African Weather Service, coastal and moored instruments, and research and monitoring cruises. Intrinsic to all of these data series is an inevitable lag between the time of sample collection or data capture and the time when the data first become available for use.Furthermore, there is inherent variability in many data series, which makes it difficult to gauge trends from only a few years of data. Therefore, some out-of date series are incorporated because they provide viable information on longterm trends. Environmental processes happening at basin-wide scales in the Southern, Atlantic and Indian oceans are likely to affect oceans around South Africa, as well as South Africa’s climate. More recently the reports were expanded to include information from marine top predators, such as seabirds, including from South Africa’s Prince Edward Islands. Marine top predators have been shown to be good indicators of ecosystem health. They feed near the top of the food chain and so integrate processes that occur at lower trophic levels. They also reflect human impacts on marine ecosystems, e.g. those caused by fishing or pollution. The scope of reports was further broadened to consider coastal and estuarine monitoring. The title of this report has been adapted to reflect that change. This report additionally considers changes in assemblages of bottom dwelling (demersal) fish communities, thereby complementing information on processes taking place at lower and higher levels in the food web. It also highlights progress towards marine ecosystem management, e.g. through the Census of Marine Life, and means to assess important areas for the conservation of biodiversity. Despite these advances, it is recognised that the report does not yet provide a comprehensive picture of the state of South Africa’s oceans and coasts. Future reports will attempt to build towards that goal, inter alia by incorporating information on trends in environmental health, marine resources and achievement on management targets that will be obtained from other government departments and research agencies.
Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Temporal extent 01 Jan 2014 – 01 Jan 2014
Geographic extent

North: -23.77
South: -45.95
West: 10.06
East: 44.57

Keywords acidification, Agulhas Bank, Antarctic copepods, Benguela, Cape fur seals, chlorophyll, citizen science, copopeds, Ekman upwelling, Goukamma oil spill, Greater Agulhas Current System, Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins, Lambert's Bay, marine turtles, microplankton, Millenium Development Goal, Mossel Bay, oxygen, PEI, plankton, Plettenberg Bay, Prince Edward Islands, Sea Surface Temperature, seabirds, SHBML, Sousa chinensis, South Africa, SST, St Helena Bay Monitoring Line, State of the Marine Environment, State of the Ocean, Tsitsikamma, zooplankton