Area of Interest
The area of interest for this illustrated description of marine and estuarine flagship environments and species falls into three local municipalities: the Mossel Bay and Hessequa local municipalities in the Garden Route District and the Swellendam local municipality in the Overberg District. These all fall within the Garden Route region. There is one commercial harbour in the region (in Mossel Bay), which caters largely for the fishing industry and the oil and gas industry. Within this area are seven estuaries, including the largest in the Western Cape (Breede), and three estuaries of national high importance in terms of biodiversity. Two coastal MPAs are included in the area of interest (Stilbaai and De Hoop) as well as two offshore MPAs: Agulhas Mud and Agulhas Bank Complex. All four MPAs are within the Agulhas Bank Nursery Area, an Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Area (EBSA), which is highly important for uniqueness or rarity, life-history stages of species, and for threatened, endangered or declining species and/or habitats.