EBSAs in the BCLME
What are EBSAs?
Ecologically or biologically significant marine areas (EBSAs) are geographically or oceanographically discrete areas that provide important services to one or more species or populations of an ecosystem or to the ecosystem as a whole, compared to other surrounding areas or areas of similar ecological characteristics, or otherwise meet at least one of the 7 EBSA criteria (see below). These sites need to be protected with conservation or other management measures to help stop the rapid loss of marine biodiversity in the ocean, in both benthic and pelagic habitats. The intent is for EBSAs to help countries to achieve the global Aichi Biodiversity Targets for 2020 (specifically Target 11), and to identify priority areas for protection in areas beyond national jurisdiction. Currently, there are 279 EBSAs worldwide.
EBSAs in the BCLME
EBSAs in the BCLME were identified at a regional meeting in 2013, and adopted by the CBD at the 12th Convention of the Parties in 2014. The intent under MARISMA is to refine the boundaries and update descriptions of existing EBSAs, identify relevant new ones, and incorporate all of these in a regional Marine Spatial Plan to achieve sustainable ocean use in the Benguela Current.
Currently, there are 11 EBSAs in the BCLME within national jurisdiction that are recognised by CBD. Another EBSA spans almost the full extent of the LME, including a small portion of high seas outside Angola. The list of proposed new EBSAs is growing, and includes a proposed extension of the Walvis Ridge EBSA into the Namibian EEZ. For regular updates of the proposed EBSAs, view the project's working EBSA portal.
How do EBSAs fit into MARISMA?
In the MARISMA project, we use systematic conservarion planning (SCP) tools to identfy EBSAs. In turn, EBSAs inform marine spatial planning (MSP) by informing which activities are compatible or incompatible with areas of high ecological value. By implementing appropriate spatial management measures, the MSP can contribute to securing the special features in the ocean, as well as allowing for socio-economic development in the Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem.
EBSA criteria rankings
The criteria are coloured in the image gallery below by their rank: red = the criterion is met at a high rank; orange = medium; yellow = low; grey = data deficient. Because the currently adopted EBSAs are undergoing updates and revisions, some of the criteria ranks have been changed as a result of new research and information that has become available since the site was adopted in 2014. These changes are marked with a blue star. As proposed sites are scored against the EBSA criteria, they will be added here. To view the full description of each site, see the next section below.