Knysna’s water playground - the Knysna estuary

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MATTHYS
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Knysna’s water playground - the Knysna estuary

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Knysna’s water playground - the Knysna estuary

02 July 2018

SANParks is escalating the level of awareness initiatives concerning the Knysna estuary, Knysna’s main playground on the water. Of the 249 national estuaries forming part of a study conducted by Jane Turpie and Barry Clarke (2007), the Knysna estuary was ranked above the St. Lucia World Heritage Site in terms of biodiversity significance. This was determined by the number of its fish species, birds and botanical data. The estuary, also in the Garden Route National Park is home to 43% of South Africa’s plant and animal life and supports rare fish species such as the grunter, white Steenbras, Dusky Cob and Cape Stumpnose. Knysna’s jewel, the estuary, alone contributes some 21, 6% of the total economic value of the 249 national estuaries.

According to Kyle Smith, SANParks marine ecologist, ‘estuaries are important nursery areas for juveniles, whilst adults also spend time in the estuaries feeding. Examples include spotted grunter, dusky kob, white steenbras, Cape stumpnose and leervis).’

They are under a range of pressures including changes to water inflow, pollution (plastics, fertilizer, organic) which can impact the health of the estuary, habitat quality and its suitability for fish and bait species.

‘The Knysna estuary is also South Africa’s most important seagrass site with an estimated 355–420 hectares of Cape dwarf-eelgrass (Maree, 2000; Bandeira and Gell, 2003; CES, 2009). Both the Cape dwarf-eelgrass (Short et al., 2007, 2011) and the fauna that it supports in Knysna are of very high conservation importance (Hodgson and Allanson, 2000; Russell et al., 2009), contributing to the estuary receiving the highest ranking in terms of its ecological importance.’

Some challenges in managing the system, according to Paddy Gordon, Park Manager include:

• More work to ensure pollution stays away from the estuaries and the ocean. While the work of the Knysna Pollution Action carries on every week assessing all sources of pollution and any incidents that may negatively impact the bacteriological quality of the water, more must still be done.

• More educational initiatives and a shared environmental education plan and resources

• More research projects are required to understand all aspects of the Knysna estuary which is the world’s one and only estuarine Hope Spot (conservation, tourism, skills, socio-economic) declared by Dr. Sylvia Earle in 2015.
SANParks is requesting users of the estuary to exercise caution when using the estuary and note plant life and animals in the estuary.

Boilerplate: 34 events are held in the GRNP. Big events during the Knysna Oyster Festival such as the Knysna Cycle Tour go through parts of the GRNP, the Knysna Marathon, the lagoon swim and others.

Fact sheet
Knysna Recreational and Subsistence Fishery – complex social-ecological interactions.


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Pic of a dolphin in the Knysna estuary, Jessica Hayes & picture of a Knysna seahorse

Media can contact: Nandi Mgwadlamba, 044 302 5633, 078 702 9663, [email protected]
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