NEMA: Biodiversity Act

The Biodiversity Act encourages the sustainable use of natural and indigenous resources and provides for the management and conservation of South Africa’s biodiversity through the protection of species, natural environments and ecosystems, while promoting the sustainable use of indigenous biological resources. The Act enforces ratified international agreements relating to biodiversity which are binding on South Africa and provides for the South African National Biodiversity Institute to assist in achieving the objectives of the Act.

National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act
Act No. 10 of 2004
"To provide for the management and conservation of South Africa’s biodiversity within the framework of the National Environmental Management Act, 1998; the protection of species and ecosystems that warrant national protection; the sustainable use of indigenous biological resources; the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from bioprospecting involving indigenous biological resources; the establishment and functions of a South African National Biodiversity Institute; and for matters connected therewith."

View Act (PDF)


The purpose of this Act is:

  • to, under the National Environmental Act; conserve and manage biological diversity within the Republic; use indigenous biological resources in a sustainable manner; and ensure equitable sharing of indigenous biological resources among stakeholders benefiting from bioprospecting.
  • to give effect to ratified international agreements relating to biodiversity which are binding on the Republic;
  • to provide for co-operative governance in biodiversity management and conservation; and
  • to provide for a South African National Biodiversity Institute to assist in achieving the objectives of this Act.

Chapters of the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act:

Chapter 1: Interpretation, Objectives and Application of Act Chapter 2: South African Biodiversity Institute
  • Definitions
  • Objectives of Act
  • State’s trusteeship of biological diversity
  • Application of Act
  • Application of international agreements
  • Application of other biodiversity legislation
  • National environmental management principles
  • Conflicts with other legislation
  • Norms and standards
  • Establishment, powers and duties of Institute
  • Governing board, composition and membersh
  • Operating procedures of Board
  • Administration of Institute
  • Financial matters
  • National botanical garden
  • Genera
Chapter 3: Biodiversity Planning and Monitoring Chapter 4: Threatened or Protected Ecosystems and Species
  • Biodiversity planning
  • Co-ordination and alignment of plans, monitoring and research
  • Protection of threatened or protected ecosystem
  • Protection of threatened or protected specie
  • Trade in listed threatened or protected species
  • General provision
Chapter 5: Species and Organisms posing potential threats to Biodiversity Chapter 6: Bioprospecting, Access and Benefit-Sharing
  • Alien species
  • Invasive species
  • Other threats
  • General provisions
  • Bioprospecting involving indigenous biological resources
  • Benefit-sharing agreements
  • Export of listed indigenous biological resources
  • Material transfer agreements
  • Establishment of Bioprospecting Trust Fund
  • Exemptions
Chapter 7: Permits Chapter 8: Administraton of Act
  • Permit system
  • Appeals
  • Regulations
  • Consultation proces
Chapter 9: Offences and Penalties Chapter 10: Miscellaneous
  • Offence
  • Penalties
  • Repeal of Act 122 of 1984
  • Savings
  • Existing bioprospecting projects
  • Short title and commencement

Management Plans

Shark Biodiversity Management Plan
25 March 2015
"The purpose of the SBMP is to achieve and maintain a favourable conservation status for resident and migratory sharks within South African waters, taking into account the socio-economic and other values of these species, based on the best available scientific information. The SBMP would be the mechanism whereby this effort can be coordinated, directed and implemented on a national and international scale to the benefit of sharks and their habitats. The SBMP would also identify species and areas where additional interventions would be necessary to address threats to populations. The SBMP will be implemented in conjunction with, and takes cognizance of, the National Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks (NPOA), that has been developed by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) and which focuses on shark fisheries management..."
Read more (PDF)

Additional Information

Alien and Invasive Species Regulations

NEMA Biodiversity Act (2014)

Marine Alien & Invsive Species

SANBI 2014