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Marine Life

The Cape Peninsula straddles the two bio-geographic provinces – the cool temperate Namaqua province to the west and the warm temperate South Coast province to the east. This is one of the most diverse and productive stretches in South Africa. The Cape Peninsula is even endemic to this change-over region. It is also the area of the longest commercial fishing in South Africa. The MPA was declared in order to protect this precious biodiversity from commercial and recreational exploitation.

Species that occur here range from microscopic planktons, crustaceans, abalone and rock lobster to giants such as the great white shark and the southern right whale. In between occur numerous types of fish such as hake, yellow tail and cape salmon – all three top-targeted commercial species. Others include red roman white steenbras and galjoen – popular for recreational anglers but under strictly regulated conditions due to their threatened status.

One of the reasons for the profusion of Great White Sharks in the False Bay is the abundant population of Cape Fur seals that have colonised Seal Island in the middle of the Bay. The Cape Fur Seal is also an efficient hunter in its own right.

Other popular marine mammals are the dolphins that inhabit the MPA, these graceful and curious animals can be found body surfing the various breaks around the peninsula. Commonly sighted species are the Bottlenose Dolphin (Lagenorhynchus delphis), the Common Dolphin (Delphinus delphis) and the Dusky Dolphin (Tursiops truncates).

Whale Watching

A major tourist attraction is whale spotting as the MPA is a popular breeding ground for species such as the Southern Right (Eubalaena australis) and Humpback (Megaptera novaeangliae) whales. From August to October these giants of the deep awe visitors on an annual basis with their amazingly graceful marine acrobatics. Good vantage points for whale spotting are Chapman’s Peak Drive, Rooikrans, Boyes Drive and the Scarborough/ Kommetjie Pass.