United Kingdom approved a marine reserve in the Pitcairn Islands

Victory reached on Aug 27, 2015
United Kingdom approved a marine reserve in the Pitcairn Islands

It was approved in the Pitcairn Islands in the South Pacific, the largest marine reserve in the world. This helps combat global overfishing. This reserve will span 834,000 square kilometers and protect over 1,200 species of birds, fish and large marine mammals.

Thanks to all of you! This is the first step, we have to continue fighting to protect our planet!

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Original petition

United Kingdom must create marine protected areas

Petition created on Feb 24, 2015

Addressed to Prime Minister of the United Kingdom David Cameron

The United Kingdom owns the Overseas Territories (UKOTs), the fifth largest maritime zone in the world with an area of ocean nearly 30 times the size of the United Kingdom itself. More than 90% of the UK’s biodiversity is found in these territories where we can find a large number of rare and threatened species and habitats. There are three Marine Protected Areas (MPA) proposed, Pitcairn Islands in the South Pacific, and Ascension and South Sandwich Islands in the South Atlantic.

Pitcairn Islands with 834,000km² is the larger area and this MPA has a unanimous support from the local community and it’s government. The Pitcairn Marine Reserve could offer security to some of the most virgin waters and coral reefs in the world. The Ascension Island has an area of 443,000km² and is the green turtle mecca and the last hotspot for tuna, marlin and shark. The South Sandwich Islands have 530,000 km² and is unoccupied by humans and host huge concentrations of wildlife, including penguin colonies and whales. By protecting Ascension Island, Pitcairn Islands and South Sandwich Islands, the UK could exceed the United States as the world leader in ocean protection.

In 2004 the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution suggested that at least 30% of the UK´s waters should be selected no-take zones, and in 2009 a group of ecological groups launched a petition with the same aim: it gathered more than 500 thousand signatures but this didn’t make any difference to either the Labour or the coalition government.

The United Kingdom is now in breach of its promise to select an “ecologically coherent” network of marine protection zones by 2012. The excuse it gives for the delay is that "there are a number of gaps and limitations in the scientific evidence base".

Gillian Anderson, Julie Christie, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Helena Bonham-Carter are between the personalities who have also signed a proclamation declaring that the foundation of the reserves would make a “globally significant contribution to ocean conservation leaving a historic legacy for people and wildlife at very little cost.

The UK government has the chance to take global leadership in marine preservation, increasing the amount of the world’s ocean under full protection by 50%. These waters are between the most diverse on earth, with the British overseas territories housing 94% of the UK’s unique biodiversity.

We the undersigned are calling on the British government to protect over 1.75 million km² of the world’s oceans by creating large‐scale and fully‐protected marine reserves in three of the UKOTs – the Pitcairn Islands, Ascension Island, and South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands.

For more information:

IUCN

Blue Marine Foundation