Added protection for the seas around the Chagos archipelago
By: Colin Clubbe - 04/11/2010
Colin Clubbe from Kew's UK Overseas Territories team reports on the latest news about the newly created Chagos Marine Reserve.
The Chagos Archipelago is one of the UK’s most remote Overseas Territories located in virtually the middle of the Indian Ocean. Kew has been carrying out botanical fieldwork on the Chagos Archipelago (British Indian Ocean Territory), which has recently become the world's largest protected marine reserve. I was fortunate enough to be part of the 2010 scientific expedition there in February. The results from my botanical explorations are being added to the UKOTs on-line herbarium.
Moresby Island has rich bird and native plant diversity (Image: RBG Kew)
The really exciting news is that commercial fishing is no longer permitted around Chagos, making it the largest no-take marine protected area in the world. The remaining tuna fishing licenses expired on 31 October 2010 following the British Government’s decision to create the Chagos Marine Reserve on 1 April 2010. Funding of £3.5 million towards policing the Reserve has been committed by the Bertarelli Foundation and the Blue Marine Foundation. An article about this development (pdf) was published in the Sunday Times on 10 September 2010.
At 544,000 km², the Chagos Marine Reserve represents 16% of the world’s fully protected coral reefs and 40% of the world’s fully protected marine reserves. Kew is a member of the Chagos Environment Network (CEN), a collaboration of nine leading conservation and scientific organisations, established to promote the protection of the rich biodiversity of the Chagos Islands and the surrounding waters.
Our on-going work in Chagos includes supporting island restoration initiatives and providing general botanical help and advice. This is part of our UK Overseas Territories Programme.
- Colin -
- Britain sets up the world’s largest marine reserve (Article from The Independent)
- Koldewey, H.J., Curnick, D., Harding, S., Harrison, L.R., & Gollack, M. (2010) Marine Pollution Bulletin - Potential benefits to fisheries and biodiversity of the Chagos Archipelago/British Indian Ocean Territory as a no-take marine reserve
UKOTs bloggers (left to right): Sara Bárrios, Pat Griggs, Colin Clubbe, Marcella Corcoran, Tom Heller, Martin Hamilton.
Using modern plant specimens collected in the field and historic specimens held in Kew’s Herbarium, together with detailed habitat descriptions and other field information, we are documenting the plant diversity of the UKOTs. We are making this information accessible via the UKOTs Online Herbarium. This resource, together with the field research, enables us to undertake conservation assessments, produce Red Lists of threatened species, and rank potentially invasive species – all of which underpin the development of management plans to protect the UKOTs’ plant heritage.
The UKOTs bloggers are:
- Colin Clubbe (Head of UKOTs and Conservation Training)
- Martin Hamilton (UKOTs Programme Co-ordinator)
- Marcella Corcoran (UKOTs Programme Officer – Horticultural Liaison)
- Sara Bárrios (UKOTs Programme Officer – GSPC Targets 1&2 OTEP Project)
- Pat Griggs (UKOTs Public Engagement Officer)
- Tom Heller (UKOTs Millennium Seed Bank Officer)
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