It makes so much sense

By historicair 22:10, 30 May 2007 (UTC) (Own work (Lyubomir Ivanov)) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
By historicair 22:10, 30 May 2007 (UTC) (Own work (Lyubomir Ivanov)) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
This blog has argued for the UK government to work with the administrations of the UK Overseas Territories to create massive marine conservation zones. If we have the relicts of an empire we might as well use them to protect the world’s natural resources.

Today 100+ people including a bunch of top bods of environmental organisations (including the RSPB, Greenpeace and Pew Environment Fund), scientists (such as Callum Roberts, Sylvia Earle and Dan Pauly), actresses (Greta Scacchi, Gillian Anderson, Helena Bonham Carter, Julie Christie and Zoe Wanamaker (by the way, boys, where are the actors?)), and other well-known folk (eg George Monbiot, Chris Packham, Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall) and a few other folk (including me)  signed the following letter which appeared in The Times:


The UK has the fifth largest area of ocean in the world under its jurisdiction when its overseas territories (UKOTs) are taken into account. More than 94 per cent of the UK’s unique biodiversity is found in the UKOTs, which support a large number of rare and threatened species and habitats found nowhere else on Earth. It makes good economic and environmental sense for the UK to work with its territories to establish effective networks of marine protected areas throughout all waters under UK jurisdiction.

We urge the British government to protect over 1.75 million km² of the world’s oceans by creating large-scale and fully-protected marine reserves in three of the UKOTs — the Pitcairn Islands, Ascension Island, and South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands. This would make a globally significant contribution to ocean conservation, leaving a historic legacy for people and wildlife at very little cost.

The last Labour administration saved up creating the marine zone around the Chagos archipelago until close to election time. I suspect we will get good news on this front before 30 March too. And so we should.

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4 Replies to “It makes so much sense”

  1. This would be great. IF... also engages, involves and has the blessing of any/all native people to the territories. The MCZ around the Chagos had the impact (lets go with the glass-half-full interpretation of 'unintentionally') of threatening the ability of the Chagos Island's rightful inhabitants to ever return. The way Britain has treated these people is utterly shameful.

    Any efforts to conserve nature must bring in people living in these areas to help them keep & maintain the life they want to - but enable them to become the guardians of it for the future. We must also not let conservation become seen around the world as a tool of colonialist attitudes.

  2. Just read Monbiot's shocking (no pun intended) article on pulse trawling ( and the damage being done by these new trawlers in the North Sea.

    I have today cancelled my direct debit to the Hawk and Owl Trust, given that Chris Packham (with his insider knowledge) has lost faith in them and given their ill judged support of brood management. I'd been considering it since news of this proposed BM "trial" broke. I will instead begin supporting Sea Shepherd (, a charity apparently taking satisfyingly direct action to address some of the problems Monbiot describes at sea.

    If there was a Moorland Shepherd equivalent I'd have signed up with them.

  3. Well done Mark. Let's hope your signature and the others work the magic and stir this Government to do the right thing and declare these MCZs prior to the General Election, (although their record does not portent very well in this respect or any other where nature is concerned). With the work currently going on to rid South Georgia of rats and the the planned RSPB project to rid Gough Island of large mice our wildlife in these Overseas Territories would receive a very significant boost.

    1. Yes, indeed, I am particularly impatient about Gough Island. I 've been hoping for action for a few years, but I am aware of the problems involved.


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