The Economic Value of the Knysna Estuary

The Economic Value of the Knysna Estuary


The area of Knysna is not only a little more than the eye can see but a lot more than you would ever have imagined.

Knysna is in an echelon all of its own with its conservation importance having being highlighted through studies that have graded its biological importance: 8th in terms of conserving fish, 19th in terms of waterbird conservation and 1st in terms of overall conservation importance based on size, diversity of habitat, zone rarity and biodiversity.

The Knysna heads or mouth is always open and this ensures the lagoon is host to variable marine fish population. Small bait fish such as the estuarine Round Herring and Cape Silverside breed in the estuary while Line fish which are important to our local fisherman and anglers, Spotted Grunter, White Steenbras, Dusky Cob and Cape Stumpnose use it as a nursery areas.

The salt marshes which are home to the Knysna Seahorse are the second largest in South Africa and contain specialised plant life including one known endemic salt marsh plant and supporting a host of this and other invertebrate life.

The Knysna Estuary has repeatedly been found to be the most conservation worthy estuary in the country, contributing to local, regional and national economies. The town is in many ways dependent on the estuary and as such,it is crucial to ensure that nothing is allowed to intervene or disturb. Residents of Knysna and management authorities have an interminable obligation to ensure that the ecological health of the estuary is not compromised and who would not agree to sustain something with an Economic value of between 2,8 million and 3,4 Billion.


The value of the Estuary has been evaluated as follows:

Subsistence value is R786 500 per annum, recreational use value is approximately R1 billion per annum, the property value of the view of the Estuary alone is 1,4 – 2,4 Billion, Nursery value (value of fish species using it for a nursery) is valued at R167,6 million per annum and the existence or scenic value is R9,7 million per annum.

The total value of the Knysna estuary in Economic terms is 2,8 – 3,4 million, but is priceless in terms of value to its residents and visitors. Let us forever ensure Knysna is the beautiful town.


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