South Africa’s holistic approach to conservation includes a network of marine protected areas (MPAs) to conserve the country’s offshore biodiversity and ensure the sustainable use of its marine resources.
This theme was introduced in 2013, featuring the Delagoa bioregion, followed by MPAs in the Natal and Agulhas bioregions in 2014 and 2015 respectively. 2016 sees the celebration of the South-Western Cape bioregion, through depictions of various marine life.
The coins are available individually and as a set.
50c (2oz): The eight-tentacle master of camouflage, the common octopus (Octopus vulgaris), is featured on the coin. These territorial cephalopods make their home in crevices among the rocky formations of shallow coastal waters. Here they prey on crabs, rock lobsters, and shellfish.
20c (1oz): On the coin a great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) propels itself out of the water. Their curiosity and intelligence, complex social interactions, and sophisticated predatory behaviour have inspired concentrated research, resulting in greater understanding. Consequently, more focused conservation efforts have been implemented in South African coastal waters to protect this once maligned marine hunter.
10c (1/2oz): The coin features the endangered African penguin (Spheniscus demersus) sitting on its nest. Protected after centuries of persecution, mainly from guano scraping and egg collecting, it was hoped that their numbers would increase. But recent studies show a rapid population decline, probably as a result of commercial fisheries competing for sardines and anchovies which form the bulk of the penguins’ diet. It is thought that protecting the feeding grounds around the breeding colonies should sustain the penguins while minimising the impact on the fishing industry.
5c (1/4oz): The West Coast rock lobster (Jasus lalandii), contributes about R200 million to the South African economy every year. Rock lobsters cannot be bred in captivity due to their long and complex life cycle. After 80 days, tiny transparent spider-like larvae hatch from the eggs; these moult and become phyllosoma larvae with long hairy legs which drift on the ocean currents for over seven months. They moult 11 times; the final stage is a 20mm colourless lobster that swims inshore and finds refuge under a rock or a crevice where it continues to grow to maturity.