Protected area

Chagos Marine Protected Area

The Chagos was designated as a Marine Protected Area a year ago. This declaration made the Chagos Archipelago one of the largest no-take marine reserve in the world, totaling more than 250,000 square miles, an area four times the area of Florida. It surpasses the scope of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in the waters of the northwestern Hawaiian Islands by over 100,000 square miles.

The combination of tropical islands, pristine coral reefs and adjacent deep water habitats makes this area comparable in global importance to the Great Barrier Reef or Galapagos Islands.

As a fully protected marine reserve, all extractive activities, including industrial fishing and deep sea mining, will be prohibited within Chagos.

Though significant, designation remains but the first step in assuring the conservation of this globally important marine site. The past year has seen some notable achievements. Foremost among which was securing the substantial contribution towards the costs of paying for a fisheries patrol vessel in the absence of revenues from tuna licences. This money was raised by the Blue Marine Foundation from the Bertarelli Foundation. From 1st November 2010, commercial fishing within 200 nautical miles of the islands of the Chagos Archipelago largely ceased.

There remain many significant challenges to ensuring long term conservation of Chagos, and the Chagos Conservation Trust - US is actively persuing an number of short and long term goals. We greatly value your support.