National Marine Ecosystem Diagnostic Analysis (MEDA) - South Africa

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South Africa has an extensive coastline in the southern section of Agulhas and Somali Current Large Marine Ecosystem (ASCLME) region, with the coastal provinces of KwaZulu Natal (KZN), Eastern Cape and Western Cape forming the seaboard. The southeast coastline is remarkably linear, with a narrow continental shelf descending to an abyss (deeper than 4,500 m) in the southern Transkei Basin.

The Agulhas Bank reaches a maximum width of 260 km offshore of the east-west trending south coast; half-heart bays occur in the lee of several capes formed by resistant rocks of the Cape Supergroup. South Africa has proclaimed an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of 200 nautical miles from the coast. South Africa’s population in 2009 was 49.32 million, with 79.3% being African, 9.1% White, 9% Coloured and 2.6% Indian/Asian. Some 52% of the population is female, with nearly one-third of the total population being younger than 15 years of age and 7.5% 60 years or older. While schooling is compulsory for all children aged between 7 and 15 years, there are still substantial educational disparities that can be traced to the apartheid past. Access to potable water is improving and about 60% of the households have access to improved sanitation.

The MEDA is a national contribution to the multinational Transboundary Diagnostic Analyses (TDA) -Strategic Action Programme (SAP) process, and was funded and supported by the Agulhas and Somali Current Large Marine Ecosystems Project (which is funded by the Global Environment Facility and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme).

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