At 180,000km2, the Prince Edward Islands region will become one of the biggest Marine Protected Areas in the world. It's an environmental achievement of global importance, which will help protect a suite of spectacular wildlife.
WWF's director general, Jim Leape, says: "South Africa has made a globally significant commitment to our oceans.
"South Africa plays a key role - along with countries such as Australia, France, UK and New Zealand - in protecting the amazing biodiversity and commercially important fisheries of the sub-Antarctic."
Located almost 2000km south of Cape Town, in the Southern Ocean, the islands are home to:
· 450,000 King penguins (and two other penguin species)
· 33% of the world's sub-Antarctic Fur Seals (and two other types of seal)
· 44% of all Wandering Albatrosses (and four more kinds of albatross)
· 14 species of petrel
The islands have been threatened by illegal and irresponsible fishing practices in the past - for instance vessels targeting Patagonian toothfish have often killed albatross as bycatch.