World’s fourth-largest marine reserve to be created by UK overseas territory in the south Atlantic

Tristan da Cunha, a small chain of islands in the south Atlantic, is to create the planet’s fourth-largest marine reserve setting aside a stretch of ocean almost three times the size of the UK to protect nature.

The UK overseas territory has announced that it will extend its existing environmental protections to safeguard a huge diversity of wildlife including penguins, whales, sharks and seals.

The reserve will be a “no-take zone”, meaning it will allow no fishing or other activities that remove wildlife from its natural habitat.

It will protect 25 seabird species that breed in this isolated archipelago, including the Tristan albatross, Atlantic yellow-nosed albatross, Atlantic petrel and spectacled petrel.

Inhabitants on the islands, which are the most remote inhabited islands on the planet, will be overseeing the largest no-take zone in the Atlantic Ocean, and fourth largest marine reserve in the world, according to conservationists.

In a statement, James Glass, Tristan da Cunha chief islander, said: “Our life on Tristan da Cunha has always been based around our relationship with the sea, and that continues today.

“The Tristan community is deeply committed to conservation: on land, we’ve already declared protected status for more than half our territory. But the sea is our vital resource, for our economy and ultimately for our long-term survival.”

Tristan da Cunha’s protection zone becomes part of the UK’s “blue belt” of protected areas around overseas territories. The Blue Belt programme aims to create 4 million sq km of marine nature reserve across overseas territories. The nature reserve in Tristan da Cunha will cover almost 700,000 sq km of ocean, making it the largest reserve in the Atlantic.

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living.

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