Diep Respek

Diep Respek is an ode to the deep sea and hopes to more deeply connect South African trawl fishermen with the mysterious worlds below, notably the Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems – or VMEs. These special parts of the ocean floor comprise a wide diversity of organisms that provide habitats for young fish and eggs, and other creatures, and are fundamental to the sustainability of our fisheries. VMEs are highly sensitive to disturbance from trawling as the organisms are slow-growing and long-lived, and once trawled, may take two to three generations to recover, at least. To limit disturbance, trawlers off the coast of South Africa are adopting a system where they stop fishing and move to another area if they catch too many VME indicator taxa. For this system to work efficiently, crew members must have a good understanding of the indicator taxa and ultimately a personal desire to preserve these ecosystems for future generations.




#DiepRespek is presented by One Ocean Hub and ACEP Deep Forests, and is part of the MzanSea initiative.

Directed by Otto Whitehead

Features local lyricist KRO-BARZ.

Production team Kerry Sink, Lara Atkinson, Grant van der Heever, Mari-Lise Franken, Lisa Jaftha, Ryan Palmer, Astrid Blumer and Mic James.

Supported by the Institute for Coastal and Marine Research-Nelson Mandela University (CMR-NMU), South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON), South African Institute of Aquatic Biodiversity (SAIAB), National Research Foundation (NRF) and African Coelacanth Ecosystem Programme (ACEP).

Keep Exploring

You can learn more about what everyone is doing to protect our waters by clicking any of the categories below.