Coast KZN

The Profile of the KZN Coast

Socio-Economic Uses of the Coast

The following are sections from Ugu Lwethu - Our Coast (Goble et al., 2014). Contributions are from a range of authors all of whom are credited per section. 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 overview of the main socio-economic uses of coastal and marine resources.

Historical, Cultural and Traditional Resource Use Photo byORI

Historical, Cultural and Traditional Resource Use

Much has been written about specific resources and features along the KZN coast. Many materials exist that provide evidence of the use of these coastal resources and the creation of certain features; the relics of hunters and gatherers, the activities of farmers, conservationists, soldiers and traders, missionaries and the many ordinary men and women of KZN, both historically and in the present. The KZN coastline has undergone a transformation from a pristine coastline little impacted by early indigenous hunter-gatherers, to a highly developed coastal zone with pressure from increasingly rapid urban development.

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Access to the Coast Photo byORI

Access to the Coast

The coast has cultural, historical and spiritual significance to the people of KZN, thus it is important that access to the coast be maintained. However, access to the coast was restricted for many in the past, making it imperative that equitable access be maintained in the future. In addition, coastal access provides opportunities for recreation, education and overall improvement of both mental and physical health.

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Artisanal and Subsistence Fishing Photo byBernadine Everett

Artisanal and Subsistence Fishing

A generally accepted definition of artisanal fisheries, also known as "small-scale" fisheries, is that they usually have a long history and tradition or culture; mostly make use of low technology fishing gear (often made by hand); and catch fairly low value resources. Subsistence fisheries refer to those fisheries where poor, unemployed people harvest fish or other marine organisms in close proximity to where they live as a means to meet their basic needs for food security.

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Recreational Activities Photo byORI

Recreational Activities

The waters of the KZN coast are mostly sub-tropical and usually remain between 22-27⁰C, encouraging a number of recreational activities such as swimming, surfing, sailing and diving. In addition, the KZN coast represents a subtropical transition between tropical Indo-Pacific biota in the north-east and warm-temperate biota in the south, making it a premier destination for recreational activities such as fishing, surfing, scuba diving and swimming.

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ORI • University of KwaZulu-Natal • Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife • KZN Sharks Board

Research Funders



Di Scott • Bruce Mann • Denis Rouillard • Gillian Rhodes • Scotty Kyle • Stuart Dunlop • Geremy Cliff • Sheldon Dudley