Ugu Lwethu - Our Coast


Overview  |  Chapter 1: Introduction  |  Chapter 2: The Physical and Coastal Environment  |  Chapter 3: Coastal and Marine Species  |  Chapter 4: Coastal and Marine Species  |  Chapter 5: Migrations  |  Chapter 6: The Human Dimension  |  Chapter 7: Socio-Economic Uses of the Coast  |  Chapter 8: Commercial Resource Use  |  Chapter 9: Pressures and Threats  |  Chapter 10: Management of the Coastal and Marine Environment |  Contributors |  Photo Credits


Ugu Lwethu – Our Coast, is a book produced with the aim of providing background information on the coastal environment and its value in order to inform and improve decision making. It provides an overview of the KZN coastal environment, key coastal ecosystems and species, coastal resources and their immense social and economic value, highlighting the diverse uses of these. It discusses the pressures and threats faced along the KZN coast and the management of the coast, highlighting legislative requirements and best practice.





Chapter 1 - Introduction


The KZN coast is shaped by a unique assemblage of physical features comprising climatic, geological and oceanographic characteristics. Collectively they create a distinctive coastal environment rich in social, economic and ecological resources. 


Chapter 2 - The Physical and Coastal Environment


The coast is largely defined by its physical characteristics which together create the environmental template that provides rich natural, social and economic resources. Our KZN coast is shaped by its geological, climatic and oceanographic characteristics, which makes it a complex and unique environment.

Chapter 3 - Coastal and Marine Ecosystems


Ecosystems are defined as groups of living organisms (animals, plants and microbes) interacting together and with the non-living components of their environment (air, water and minerals). Coastal and marine ecosystems encompass a wide range of habitat types, providing an integral link between terrestrial and aquatic environments. 

The KZN coastal environment is home to a range of ecosystems that support high diversity and endemic species. These include coastal and aquatic vegetation, sandy and rocky shores, transitional ecosystems such as estuaries, coastal lakes, mangroves and wetlands, and dynamic systems such as sub-tidal reefs and soft substrata.

Chapter 4 - Coastal and Marine Species


The unique nature of the coastal and marine environment and the associated ecosystems, supports a wide range of species from the smallest invertebrate to the largest of all mammals. Some are economically or socially important, while others are endemic and ecologically important to KZN.

Chapter 5 - Migrations


A number of species have the unique lifestyle pattern of migration, either for mating or feeding. Some of these species migrate in and out of KZN coastal waters, resulting in a fascinating spectacle.

Chapter 6 - The Human Dimension


Given that the coast of KZN provides a gateway to the world, a playground for leisure, and a primary zone for economic development, it is not surprising that there is a high demand for coastal resources and economic development opportunities. This is matched by growing resident and seasonal populations who utilise the coast and supporting infrastructure and services. Collectively these features create a basis for development that is pivotal to the future economy of KZN.

Chapter 7 - Socio-Economic Uses of the Coast


The coastal environment is extremely important to people, both resident at the coast and as a tourist destination. The coast and its resources are used for traditional, cultural and subsistence reasons, with the focus shifting, in recent years, to recreational and leisure activities and use. This chapter provides an over view of the main socioeconomic uses of coastal and marine resources.

Chapter 8 - Commercial Resource Use


In addition to the many social and recreational amenities provided by coastal KZN, there are also a number of commercial ventures and opportunities based on coastal resources. These contribute significantly to job creation and to the Province' s economy and include coastal tourism, fishing, diving as well as agriculture and extractive dune mining operations.

Chapter 9 - Pressures and Threats


The coastal environment is under constant pressure from coastal development, extraction of resources, erosion and pollution, to name a few. These in turn threaten coastal habitats, biodiversity and the sustainability of coastal resources. Potentially , these are exacerbated by the threats posed by climate change. This section provides an over view of some of the main pressures and threats facing the KZN coastal environment.

Chapter 10 - Management of the Coastal and Marine Environment


The coastal zone is a dynamic environment that requires careful management and protection. Coastal management, as a discourse, has gone through various stages of development, both globally and locally . There are now a number of mechanisms aimed at improving the management of the coast, both nationally and internationally.



Alan Smith (UKZN), Andrea Angel (Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology), Andrew Cooper (University of Ulster), Andrew Mather (eThekwini Municipality), Andries Kruger (South African Weather Service), Brian Sugden (Tongaat Hulett Growers Forum / North Coast Forum), Bronwyn Goble (ORI), Bruce Mann (ORI), Camilla Floros (ORI), Candice Untiedt (ORI), Denis Rouillard (ORI), Di Scott (UKZN), Erika Steyn (ORI), Fiona MacKay (ORI), Geremy Cliff (KZN Sharks Board), Gillian Rhodes (Ezemvelo), Jade Maggs (ORI), Janine Adams (NMMU), Jean Harris (Ezemvelo), Judy Mann (SAAMBR / Coastwatch KZN), Ken Findlay (University of Cape T own), Larry Oellermann (ORI), Linda Harris (NMMU), Lisa Guastella (University of Cape Town / Bayworld Centre for Research & Education), Mariana Tomalin (ORI), Melissa Lewis (UKZN), Omar Parak (DAEA), Ronel Nel (NMMU), Ross Wanless (Birdlife South Africa), Roy Lubke (Rhodes University), Rudy van der Elst (ORI), Scotty Kyle (Ezemvelo), Sean Fennessy (ORI), Sheldon Dudley (KZN Sharks Board), Steven Weerts (CSIR), Tamsyn Livingstone (Ezemvelo)


Photo credits 

Andrew Kemp Bernadine Everett Blue FlagBronwyn GobleBruce Mann 
Camilla Floros DAEADavid Allen Fiona MacKayGavin Carter 
Geremy Cliff Jade Maggs Jean Tresfon Jennifer Olbers Judy Mann 
Kierran Allen Kirsty Bowles Lesley Rochat Lloyd EdwardsMartin Taylor 
Melissa PalmerNatalie HollandOmar ParakORIPeter Tim
Ronel Nel Rise PalmerRoss Wanless SAAMBRSean Fennessy
Simon Bundy Stuart Dunlop Stuart Laing