Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds

Public comment invited for the draft Biodiversity Management Plan for the African Penguin

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 Minister of Environment, 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 African penguin 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). Population numbers have declined drastically; from millions of birds at the beginning of the 19th century, the current South African population is now at only 10,000 breeding pairs plus 4,000 breeding pairs in Namibia, thus the global population is at 14,000 breeding pairs.
These numbers are terrifying and signals a serious environmental crisis. We need to do all we can to save the last remaining African penguins, before it is too late.
SANCCOB was one of the organisations that formed the drafting team for both the first AP-BMP and subsequently the second draft version, collaborating with the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment, penguin colony management authorities, academia, research institutions, fisheries sector, and other NGOs. SANCCOB plays an important role in the conservation of endangered African penguins and is committed to supporting government in implementing the critical actions outlined in the draft BMP; we will be submitting comments, reinforcing the urgent conservation interventions required to prevent further declines of the species.
What we need you to do:
You can download and review the AP-BMP here to gain a general overview of the threats, noting the actions outlined from page 37 -54.
Below are key implementations that SANCCOB considers a high priority to conserve the species:
➢ Ensure availability of forage fish for African penguins in key forage areas throughout their annual cycle.
➢ Minimise and/or mitigate the impact of catastrophic events on African penguins: Oil spills.
Members of the public are invited to submit written comments or inputs within 30 calendar days from 21 July 2022 to the following address: marinespecies@dffe.gov.za.
July 29, 2022

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