Agulhas Current

About the Area

The warm waters of the Aghulhas Current flowing southward along the Indian Ocean on the southeast coast of Africa, allow for a high species diversity, including both endemic and Indo-Pacific species.
The coasts harbour a mix of mangroves, vast offshore coral reefs, and sea grass beds that provide food resources and habitat for seabird colonies, nesting sea turtles, and numerous fishes.

Local Species
Fish include shallow-water Cape hake (Merluccius capensis), Blackhand sole (Solea bleekeri), Yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares), and the Albacore (T. alalunga). The Bazaruto National Park, an archipelago off Vilanculos, is home to over 100 individual dugongs (Dugong dugon), and five species of nesting sea turtles - including Leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea), Loggerhead (Caretta caretta), Green (Chelonia mydas), Hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata), and Olive ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea).

South Africa's De Hoop Nature Reserve includes a marine reserve with several species of Dolphins (Family, Delphinidae), Porpoises (Family, Phocoenidae), and the Southern right whale (Eubalaena australis).

Threats
Major threats to the ecoregion include:
  • Loss of mangrove forests, siltation of coral reefs, destructive fishing practices (e.g., use of fine mesh nets and dynamite), and over fishing.
  • Poor rural sewage treatment.
  • Poor farming practices and deforestation that contribute to sedimentation and degradation of seagrasses and coral reefs.
  • High levels of sedimentation that have significantly altered the ecology of Zambezi River delta - a major river that drains into these marine waters.
  • High levels of traffic associated with crude oil transport from the Arabian Gulf that has resulted in contamination from tankers spills and discharge of polluted ballast waters.
Resources
Size:
N/A

Habitat type:
Temperate Upwelling

Geographic Location:
Southwestern Indian Ocean near the southeastern coast of Africa

Conservation Status:
Relatively Stable/Intact

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