South Africa: Protecting sardines to protect penguins

In response to the decline in penguin populations in Cape Town, the South African Department of Ecology has announced restrictions on sardine fishing. 

African penguin - South Africa ©Sergey Uryadnikov

Along the coast of South Africa, Cape penguins (Spheniscusdemersus) are experiencing an unprecedented population decline (-75% in 30 years). The cause is the increasing scarcity of small fish (anchovies, sardines, etc.), their main source of food. 

In response, Barbara Creecy, the Minister for the Environment, has announced fishing restrictions for at least the next ten years. These restrictions will apply to six fishing zones around the islands where the penguin colonies take refuge. An initial assessment will be drawn up after the first few years to measure the effectiveness of this measure. 

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