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Documenting the “Mecca” for Marine Wildlife

South African Steve Benjamin is an underwater photographer based in Cape Town, “revealing and promoting the wealth of life around South Africa has developed into a life quest for me,” he tells CNN. Benjamin, who has a degree in zoology, hopes that his underwater images will open people’s eyes to the value of marine protected areas — spaces set aside for nature conservation. Benjamin has been capturing images of South Africa’s marine environments and wildlife since 2008. He took this photo of a red roman in the De Hoop Marine Protected Area, along South Africa’s eastern coast. These reef fish are found nowhere else in the world and are especially vulnerable to overfishing. As of 2019, South Africa had declared 42 marine protected areas (MPAs), totaling 5% of the country’s ocean territory.