Hope Spot comes to Knysna
Partners in Knysna (SANParks, the Eden District Municipality, Knysna Municipality, Cape Nature, Knysna Basin Project, Biowise, Lakes Bird Club) are pulling efforts and resources to put Knysna on the map as the next Hope Spot.
Hope Spots are places that are critical to the health of the ocean. The ocean occupies two-thirds of the planet's surface and contains 97% of the Earth's water. The total volume is approximately 1.3 billion cubic kilometers (310 million cu mi) with an average depth of 3,682 meters.
Some of these Hope Spots are already formally protected, while others still need defined protection. The prospective Hope Spot in Knysna includes the Knysna estuary which drains into the Indian Ocean. The estuary which is managed by SANParks is a protected area in the Garden Route National Park. It is rated as SA’s number 1 in terms of biodiversity significance. It is home to the Knysna seahorse (Hippocampus capensis), classified as Endangered (Hilton-Taylor 2000) and is widespread in Swartvlei and Knysna estuaries though not abundant. In excess of 200 species of fish have been recorded in the Knysna Estuary alone (Bulpin 1978). The permanently open estuary enables free access to typical marine species, with the result that there are many records of species which do not normally occur in estuaries.
Once declared a ‘Hope Spot’ Knysna will join other global players like Chagos, the Outer Seychelles, the Coral Triangle, the Micronesian Islands, Gulf of Mexico Deep Reefs, Gulf of Guinea and 44 of the world’s Hope Spots.
The pulse of the Hope Spot campaign is to demystify the ocean and its significance. Do citizens understand the significance of protecting the ocean, in Knysna, the estuary and other related marine areas?
Partners are finding opportunities to extend their educational and awareness efforts to focus purely on the prospective Hope Spot. This coming week’s exhibition during one of Knysna’s biggest events, the Knysna Oyster Festival, is seen as the first of many steps leading to December. This is the month chosen by Mission Blue, the initiators of the campaign to visit Knysna to see if it meets criteria to qualify as a Hope Spot.
Two of Knysna’s beaches have Blue Flag status; Brenton-On-Sea and Buffalo Bay which are managed by the Knysna Municipality.
Spokesperson and Chair of the Knysna Hope Spot, Vernon Gibbs-Halls (Biodiversity and Coastal Management Eden District Municipality) reiterated the importance of Hope Spots in South Africa – “We remain committed to the protection of our coastal resources throughout Eden and the declaration of a Hope Spot will endorse our efforts towards the conservation of marine species and enhance the sustainable use of these natural resources whilst it raises greater public awareness surrounding marine issues.”
Regional Communications Manager, SANParks
Cell: 078 702 9663
Tel: 044 302 6300
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