ConservationInternational Celebration DayMarion Island

Celebrating World Wetlands day – Prince Edward Islands of South Africa

Today on 2nd February International Wetlands day is celebrated with the theme for 2024, ‘It’s Time for Wetlands Restoration”. Prince Edward Islands, that include Marion Island and Prince Edward Islands is declared as RAMSAR site 1688. Read more about the management of these wetlands in the Prince Edward Islands Management plan, the Prince Edward Island Management Committee Meetings Information,  an introductory guide and in journal articles on the ALSA Archive.

Prince Edward Islands. 22/05/07; Western Cape; 37,500 ha; 46°46’S 037°51’E. Includes the larger Marion Island (46°54’S 037°45’E) and the smaller Prince Edward Island (46°38’S 037°57’E), which are classified as sub-Antarctic and are of volcanic origin. They are protected natural habitats and do not support any consumptive or exploitative activities. The three main terrestrial habitats are unvegetated uplands, well-drained vegetated slopes, and poorly-drained vegetated coastal plains. Significant wetland formations include non-forested peat lands (swamps and bogs), intermittent streams, waterfalls, freshwater ponds, crater lakes, rocky marine shores, kelp beds, sea cliffs and sand shores. The islands host numerous breeding seabirds like the vulnerable Wandering Albatrosses (Diomedea exulans) and White-chinned Petrel (Procellaria aequinoctialis) and the endangered Sooty Albatross (Phoebetria fusca) and Yellow-nosed Albatross (Thalassarche carteri). Three penguin species breed and moult on the rocky areas around the coastline; the King Penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus), Macaroni Penguin (Eudyptes chrysolophus) and Eastern Rockhopper Penguin (E. c. filholi). Commercial tourism and fishing within territorial waters are prohibited. The principal activities on these islands since their annexation by South Africa in 1947 and 1948 include meteorological observations, scientific research, logistic support for research and conservation and management activities. Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing for Patagonian Toothfish in the surrounding waters caused reduction in fish stock and high levels of incidental mortality of seabirds. This has declined in recent years, however. Ramsar site no. 1688. Most recent RIS information: 2007.

Cover Image: Marion Island

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