Have your say on African Penguin Biodiversity Management Plan

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment has invited the public to comment on the draft Biodiversity Management Plan (BMP) for the African Penguin.

The draft bill proposes a single regulatory framework for procurement applicable to national, provincial and local government, as well as State-owned entities.

Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment Minister, Barbara Creecy, published a notification in the Government Gazette on Friday, 22 July 2022, inviting the public to comment on the draft review of the African Penguin BMP for the continuation of modified and ongoing actions and consideration of new actions that aim to address emerging threats.

“The actions and threats include improving, where possible, access to available food for African penguins, population models to assess multiple threats to African penguins, reviewing the implementation and monitoring of predation management, at-sea threats, human-induced stresses, and the mitigation intervention on management processes implemented for ship-to-ship bunkering, among others,” the department said.

The Biodiversity Management Plan for the African Penguin was first gazetted in 2013 due to the rapid decline of the species in the 20th century.

The African penguin is Africa’s only extant penguin and is endemic to both Namibia and South Africa. This once most abundant South African seabird suffered a massive reduction from over one million pairs in the 1920s to present population numbers of just over 10 400 pairs in 2021.

It is currently classified as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and under Threatened or Protected Marine Species Regulations (TOPMS) published under the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act (NEM:BA).

The aim of the 2013 African Penguin BMP was to halt the decline of the African penguin population in South Africa within two years of the implementation of the management plan, and thereafter achieve a population growth, which will result in a down listing of the species in terms of its status in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

“The implementation of the African Penguin BMP actions was a cooperative effort with management authorities that manage African penguin breeding colonies, the fisheries sector, the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) as well as various Non-Government Organisations, academic and research institutions,” the department said.

Despite the successful implementation of many of the actions listed in the plan, the department said this was not attained, and African penguin populations have continued to decline, “albeit at a slower rate”.

Members of the public are invited to submit written comments or inputs within 30 calendar days from 22 July 2022 to the following address: 

By post to: The Deputy Director-General: Oceans and Coasts

Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment

Attention: Ms Millicent M Makoala

Private Bag X4390

Cape Town

8001

By hand at: The Deputy Director-General: Oceans and Coasts

Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment

Attention: Ms Millicent M Makoala

1 East Pier Building, East Pier Road

V&A Waterfront

Cape Town

By e-mail: marinespecies@dffe.gov.za (link sends e-mail)

Copies of the Gazettes can be accessed by visiting the link: https://dffe.gov.za. – SAnews.gov.za

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