The MARISMA project is a partnership between the BCC, its member states Angola, Namibia and South Africa and the government of Germany in pursuit of the sustainable development of the Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem (BCLME). The BCLME is situated in the south-east Atlantic, stretching along the coast of southern Angola, the entire Namibian coast and the west and southern coast of South Africa. It is one of the most productive ocean regions in the world with unique marine biological diversity. Commercial fisheries, maritime transport and the extraction of non-living natural resources such as oil, gas, diamonds and other minerals, are key industries in the BCLME.
The primary focus is on implementing Marine Spatial Planning (MSP), a process which guides when and where human activities occur in the ocean. It reveals spatial conflicts and synergies between uses, and it encourages the shared use of marine areas to benefit as many industries as possible. MSP is an integrative process which involves a member of stakeholders such as government departments, industry, NGOs which all work together in identifying and agreeing on an agreed Marine Spatial Plan. MARISMA is also helping BCC member states to identify Ecologically or Biologically Areas (EBSAs). MSP in the region will support healthy ecosystem functioning by integrating conservation objectives for marine biodiversity – a prerequisite for sustainable development. MaREI are providing technical expertise relating to stakeholder participation in national and transboundary MSP to the MARISMA project on behalf of s.Pro Sustainable projects.