World’s largest marine reserve makes a splash

Caroline Spelman, MP for the Meriden Constituency, has campaigned successfully with other members of Parliament to create the world’s largest fully protected marine reserve around the Pitcairn Islands, an overseas territory in the South Pacific Ocean. The reserve is roughly 3.5 times the size of the United Kingdom and will be home to 1,249 marine mammals, seabirds and fish.

 

By declaring the oceans around the Pitcairn Islands as a Marine Protected Area, the Government has delivered the single biggest conservation measure taken by any Government. The measure not only safeguards marine biodiversity, but will also protect a key breeding ground for fish which helps to maintain a sustainable and responsible fishing industry. Recent studies highlight the massive decline in the number of large fish in the oceans, and predict a collapse of all the world’s fisheries over the next forty years.

 

The United Kingdom is leading the international effort to protect the oceans, and establishing this new marine reserve sets a high standard for others to follow. The need to preserve marine life is increasingly being recognised as a key international objective; last week’s announcement is part of a growing global movement to safeguard important places in the sea that has protected more than 6.5 million square kilometres (2.5 million square miles) to date. Despite these successes, only about 1 percent of the world’s ocean is fully protected.

 

Caroline Spelman commented: “This is great news for marine conservative, and I am very glad to have been part of the successful campaign to establish this marine reserve. The justifications for this marine reserve are numerous: we can learn more about the oceans and its inhabitants, preserve wildlife and plants for future generations, prevent illegal fishing activity and secure a sustainable fishing industry.”