The fourth-largest marine protected area on Earth has just been created in the Atlantic Ocean.
The government of the Tristan da Cunha archipelago, a UK territorial island, worked with the UK government, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, and National Geographic’s Pristine Seas Initiative to create the 265,347-square-mile marine sanctuary.
“The community… a small chain of islands over 6,000 miles from London in the South Atlantic has declared that almost 700,000 km2 of its waters will join the UK’s Blue Belt of marine protection, becoming the largest no-take zone in the Atlantic and the fourth largest on the planet,” the Tristan da Cunha government wrote in a published statement.
About four million square miles of ocean habitat are now protected by the Blue Belt initiative, which was instantiated in 2016. Many of the protected areas, like Tristan da Cuhna, are UK territorial governments including the South Georgia and South Sandwich islands.
According to the Good News Network, this measure puts the world on track to “secure protection of 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030.”
“Tristan da Cunha is almost three times as big as the island of Great Britain, and will protect tens of millions of native and migratory birds, rare migratory sharks, whales, seals, golden undersea forests of kelp, and penguins—collectively valued as a UNESCO World Heritage Site—from illegal mining, fishing, and other extractive activities,” the site reports.
According to National Geographic, Tristan da Cunha is like a mix of “Edinburgh and California’s Big Sur,” with only 245 residents of British, Italian, Dutch, and American heritage. A main source of income for these residents comes from a sustainable lobster fishery, excluded from the protected zone.
As the Good News Network reports, fishing in various forms is the easiest and most efficient way for developing nations to provide high-quality protein for people. Protecting marine habitats is the best way to ensure the fishing industry can continue to operate without reducing marine biodiversity as the demands for food increase with global population.
“It is testament to the vision of the Tristan da Cunha community that one of the world’s smallest communities can make the single biggest contribution to global marine conservation this year,” said Enric Sala, National Geographic Society Explorer-in-Residence.
Learn more in the video below.Whizzco