McNish Bay on the south coast of Prince Edward Island, typifies much of the steep, rugged nature of the islands' coasts.
Credit: Peter Ryan, FitzPatrick Institute UCT
The Prince Edward Islands have been declared a protected area by the South African government, according to a release from the World Wildlife Fund.
The islands (not to be confused with the Canadian island province) are about 1,240 miles (2,000 kilometers) south of the African continent and are a biodiversity hotspot. The area is home to important populations of albatrosses, penguins, killer whales and Patagonian toothfish.
"This is a historic day for marine conservation in South Africa," said Morné du Plessis, with the WWF, in the statement. "This declaration demonstrates South Africa's new commitment to protecting the Prince Edward Islands, an important national heritage and a crown jewel of our oceans."
The area was subject to rampant poaching during the late 1990s, according to the WWF release. Patagonian toothfish, otherwise known as Chilean seabass, was poached around the islands, and throughout the Southern Ocean.