World’s most remote island creates huge marine protection zone

Tristan da Cunha, home to the world’s most remote human settlement, has declared 687,000 square kilometres in the Atlantic Ocean will be protected

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed the UK has exceeded its target of protecting some of the world’s most previous marine environment with the help of the most remote island.

More than 4.3 million square kilometres – around 1% – of all the world’s ocean in the Overseas Territories will be protected after Tristan da Cunha announced a new Marine Protection Zone that will safeguard the future of the marine environment.

The isolated UK Overseas Territory, home to the world’s most remote human settlement, has today declared the largest fully protected marine reserve in the Atlantic Ocean at 687,000 square kilometres.

This will close more than 90% of their waters to harmful activities like bottom-trawling fishing, sand extraction and deep sea mining.

The Tristan da Cunha community was supported by the UK’s Blue Belt Programme, which provides £27 million over five years for marine conservation around UK Overseas Territories and international organisations.

The project safeguards biodiversity, wildlife habitats and ecosystems in some of the most remote places on Earth – covering an area 17 times the size of the UK.

The achievement comes ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference or COP26, which will be held in Glasgow in November 2021.

As President, the UK will bring together world leaders to drive progress on tackling climate change and come up with new ways to protect marine biodiversity and tackle plastic pollution in the world’s ocean.

The Blue Belt Programme makes a significant contribution to the UK-led 30 by 30 initiative, an international commitment made by the Global Ocean Alliance and launched by the UK in 2019 to protect at least 30% of the global ocean in Marine Protected Areas by 2030. A total of 32 countries have now joined the alliance.

Mr Johnson said: “We are in danger of killing our seas. We are warming them up, making them more acidic and every day we fill them with turtle-choking, dolphin-poisoning plastic that is turning our ocean into a vast floating rubbish dump.

“That’s why I am delighted that the United Kingdom has now protected more than 4.3 million square kilometres of the world’s ocean, following Tristan da Cunha’s announcement.

“I am now calling on other nations to join us in our ambition to protect 30% of the world’s ocean by 2030. We need collective global action if we are to bequeath a world that is every bit as wonderful and magnificent as the one we inherited.”

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