Using recreational divers to inform more efficient conservation management within an MPA - a case study from the Cape Peninsula, South Africa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In South Africa, recreational scuba diving is one of the most popular coastal activities, which is largely carried out within Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). MPAs act as the basis for marine conservation in the country, operating as the primary tool for the management of the country’s marine resources. Effective management of MPAs depends on the uptake of voluntary guidelines, including Codes of Conduct by recreational users, such as the scuba diving community. With a focus on the MPA of Table Mountain National Park (TMNP), this paper aims to determine the value that Cape divers attach to the marine environment in which they dive, their under-standing of the role of the TMNP MPA, and their knowledge and attitudes regarding its management. A semi-structured questionnaire with responses from around 30% of the local diving community showed that while users attached a high value the MPA in which they dive, they presented a lack of knowledge around the regulations and conditions involved with diving within the MPA. This is associated with poor dissemination of user information and general awareness. In-depth interviews with dive operators and management personnel of the MPA indicated a disconnect between the different levels of management, operators and users. Based on this research, we propose alternative and additional management strategies for recreational scuba diving that would contribute to the success of the TMNP MPA including inter alia increased collaboration with the dive community for citizen science activities, improved stakeholder engagement and better access to information on management regulations and expectations.
Original languageEnglish
Article number106208
Number of pages12
JournalOcean and Coastal Management
Volume224
Early online date6 May 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2022

Keywords

  • marine protected areas
  • SCUBA
  • recreational diving
  • environmental impacts
  • management
  • water users

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