St Lucia estuarine system comprises 50% of the total estuarine area of South Africa
Recorded Marine Mammels
Identified Coral Species
Recorded Marine and Estuarine Molluscs
Recorded Marine Fish Species
Statistics may not be completely accurate, are constantly changing and are dependent on ever changing ecosystems.
Statistics are based on the whole St Lucia estuarine system located within iSimangaliso Wetland Park.
The St Lucia estuarine system is a significant system as it comprises of 50% of the total estuarine area of South Africa. Freshwater and marine environments are interconnected and thus include a wide range of habitats for marine species and freshwater species to be present.
The marine environment around St Lucia is influenced by the Agulhas Current, one of the major western boundary currents of the world, as well as freshwater input from various rivers and rainfall. Both the current and freshwater input play a major role in nutrient loading of the marine species and environment.
Animal diversity in the St Lucia estuarine system include species from Microalgae, Benthic invertebrates (crabs molluscs, worms, ect), Zooplankton to fish fauna.
The Coelacanth, known only from fossils and thought to be extinct for 70 million years, was rediscovered in 1938 and observed in 2000 when the fish was found inhabiting canyons of the coast of iSimangaliso Wetland Park.
Humpback whales and Southern Right whales pass along the KwaZulu-Natal coast annually on a migration route between their summer polar feeding grounds in the Antarctic to the tropical and sub-tropical coastal waters of Northern Mozambique and Madagascar where they breed in the winter. These whales are commonly seen in the area from June to November every year. Whale watching trips operate daily from St Lucia during this time.
St Lucia has been a popular fishing destination since the 1930s, but due to severe periods of drought and human interference, there have been severe negative impacts on the fish fauna of the estuarine system. The reduction of freshwater flow into the system and drought, causing the St Lucia estuary mouth to close have had substantial impacts on fish migrations, fish nursery areas, loss of habitat and loss of estuarine-dependent fish species. Illegal gill and seine net fishing in Lake St Lucia make up between 91 and 135 tonnes of fish per year (Perissinotto, Stretch & Taylor, 2013), which contributes to further depletion of animal diversity.
Fishing is still permissible in St Lucia, but as the area is a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site, there are strict fishing regulations. Read more about the regulations on iSimangaliso’s website.
St Lucia is a small town on the East coast of South Africa. Surrounded by an UNESCO World Heritage Site, this town is at the heart of magnificent natural coastal forests, wild animals, majestic bird life, breathtaking beaches and hospitable people.
St Lucia SA is an online booking platform for accommodation, tours, safari packages and activities in St Lucia.