WILDTRUST is a non-profit environmental organisation working towards a more resilient future in 40-plus communities across South Africa, Tanzania, and Comoros. It works “for the WILD”, creating opportunities to empower and restore social-ecological resilience and the balance between humankind and nature, for a just and healthy planet. WILDOCEANS (their marine arm) has been working towards unlocking the Marine Protected Area (MPA) expansion process in South Africa through a campaign called Ocean iMPAct (@oceanimpactsa), which hopes to support the establishment of 10% MPAs and pave the way for African states to support a global target of 30% marine protection by 2030.
Linked to MPAs, WILDOCEANS has supported research efforts onboard our Research Vessel (RV) Angra Pequena, to generate new scientific information to refine existing spatial conservation planning products. Spatial solutions, such as MPAs, provide important mechanisms to ensure the sustainability of fisheries and to buffer global impacts. MPAs offer a cost-effective tool for mitigating risk from industrial practices such as oil and gas exploration and extraction and preventing habitat loss from seabed mining and bottom-trawling.
These focus areas are most efficient in conserving biodiversity and guide the placement of additional MPAs. The project also aims to support the effective management of MPAs and works to demonstrate the tangible social benefits of MPAs – while building relationships with adjacent communities.
WILDOCEANS is passionate about amplifying the voices of our youth and working with them to come up with solutions for the ocean that they will inherit. WILDOCEANS supports the growth and transformation of marine science capacity to meet the challenges of the future, through the Ocean Stewards initiative established in 2015, which promotes the entry of young science students into marine science as a career. There is a growing fellowship of 114 students that have had a truly experiential journey onboard our vessel with scientists and experts in the marine conservation field. The Youth4MPAs are an active youth movement with the vision of generating awareness about protection. On the 19 th and 20 th August 2021, the Youth4MPAs will be hosting a virtual African Youth Summit. The Summit will engage African youth change-makers in the field of marine protection, discuss innovative solutions to current ocean related challenges, and the importance of protecting and conserving the ocean around Africa, whilst promoting inclusiveness of communities, and fair, just implementation of MPAs.