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DEA gazettes the National Environmental Management Plan: Shark Biodiversity Management Plan

01 April 2015


The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) has gazetted the National Environmental Management Plan: Biodiversity Act, 2004 (Act no. 10 of 20014) Shark Biodiversity Management Plan on the 25th of March 2015.

The National Environmental Management Plan was formed after the department identified an urgent need to develop a national Shark Biodiversity Management Plan (SBMP), this is because DEA is accountable for shark conservation in South African waters. The development of the SBMP is driven by the National Environmental Management Biodiversity Act (NEMBA), Act 10 of 2004 which seeks to provide for the management and conservation of biodiversity within the Framework of the National Environmental Management Act, 1998; and the protection of species and ecosystem that warrant national protection.

The purpose of the SBMP is to achieve and maintain a favourable conservation status for resident and migratory sharks within South African waters, taking into account the socio-economic and other values of these species, based on the best available scientific information. The SBMP is therefore the mechanism whereby this effort can be coordinated, directed and implemented on a national and international scale to the benefit of sharks and their habitats. Furthermore the SBMP would also identify species and areas where additional interventions would be necessary to address threats to populations.

SBMP will be implemented in conjunction with, and takes cognizance of, the National Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks (NPOA), that has been developed by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) and which focuses on shark fisheries management.

South Africa recognizes the concerns expressed by many international bodies, such as the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). This relates to the conservation and management of sharks; and the existing management arrangements that may require improvements in order to address concerns within its national waters. The development of a SBMP will contribute to the conservation, protection and management of shark species of conservation concern through coordinated actions. It is also noted that the concurrent development of the National Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks (NPOA) that focuses on exploited species - a separate document taken forward by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) - will enhance the ecological sustainability of shark fisheries through more effective management.

The SBMP contains specific objectives that need to be achieved and a number of actions that need to be implemented to ensure that its aims are fulfilled. The Department (DEA) will be the lead agency in terms of implementation and monitoring and will appoint an Ecosystem and Species Steering Committee to oversee these tasks.

To access the, Shark Biodiversity Management Plan click on the link below:

>> National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act (Act No 10 of 2004), Shark Biodiversity Management Plan (GG38607 - GN258)

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