Strengthening and expanding Namibia's MPA network (NIMPA+)

Project duration:  April 2023 – March 2028
Country: Namibia

Background

Namibia’s coast hosts one of the most productive marine regions in the world. Fed by cold, nutrient-rich water, the Benguela Current Marine Ecosystem along the coast of south- western Africa is renowned for its highly productive waters and is the lifeblood of the entire coastline. The Namibian Islands' Marine Protected Area (NIMPA) is located within an Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Area (EBSA) and covers the principal upwelling centre of the Benguela Current. It is home to globally significant populations of seabirds (such as African penguins and bank cormorants), marine mammals (such as Cape fur seals) and other marine species. Despite being Africa’s second-largest marine protected area (MPA) with a surface area of around 9,500km2, NIMPA only covers 1.7% of Namibia’s waters and is under threat from overfishing, pollution, mining, climate change, ineffective management and a society disconnected from marine values.

To address these issues, a consortium comprising NNF, Blue Marine, GRID, SANCCOB, SAERI, COSDEC-Benguela and NAMCOB is working with the Namibian government to develop and implement a management framework for NIMPA. This new framework will draw on the latest scientific evidence and provide a blueprint for effective decision-making, setting clear thresholds for key environmental indicators and prioritising sustainable resource use. To ensure the long-term sustainability of NIMPA and its surrounding communities, the newly established non-profit organisation NAMCOB works closely with the government and supports the management and monitoring of NIMPA. NAMCOB is focusing much of its conservation efforts on rehabilitating seabirds through the creation of a centre that will benefit seabirds such as the endangered African penguin, a keystone species whose population has declined by more than 50% over the last 30 years. It also plays a vital role in engaging the community in marine conservation and supporting coastal tourism.

By developing innovative strategies for sustainable resource use, the NIMPA+ project supports small-scale fisheries, gleaners and entrepreneurs, improving their economic benefits while protecting one of the world’s most important marine ecosystems. The project will also inform the designation of two new MPAs (Namibe and Cape Fria EBSAs) located near the Angolan border in Namibia, setting the stage for a brighter future for the country’s priceless marine biodiversity.

SAERI's Role

SAERI is a consortium partner, the main focus of our input is on the evidence base for NIMPA and the new MPAs. This includes developing an information management system for the NIMPA. We will also provide specialist expertise in Management Planning, Seabirds and Fisheries.

Stakeholder Mapping

NIMPA+ Project Team Photo

SAERI Team

Lead

Tara Pelembe

Contributing

Jack 
Ingledew-Gale

Dr Paul Brewin 

Dr Al Baylis

Dr Paul Brickle

Project Donor

LEAD ORGANISATION

Project Partners

Spencer Bay and Mercury Island © Rodney Braby

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