National Geographic : 2014 Dec
Marine protected areas aim to preserve entire ecosystems, from plankton to predators. At Ponta do Ouro, in southern Mozambique, healthy reefs ensure the annual return of schools of migratory baitfish, which attract predators such as the venomous lionfish (above). Wide-ranging pelagic species such as tuna (top left, shot by a spearfisher near Aliwal Shoal), some sharks, and many marine mammals and seabirds derive little value from small coastal protected areas, especially where fishing is allowed. They would benefit from offshore MPAs large enough to protect important spawning or gathering areas, but industrial fishing, mining, and fossil fuel enterprises have opposed such protected areas. Many African communities have deep ties to the sea, and traditional healers (left) often perform rituals and ceremonies at the water’s edge.