Green light given to Ascension Island’s vast no-fishing zone

Published on
March 20, 2019

U.K. government has backed plans by Ascension Island to designate over 150,000 square miles of its waters as a fully protected "no-take" marine protected area (MPA), thereby closing the off-shore area to any fishing activity.

When protected, the new no-take zone around Ascension Island will bring the total percentage of MPAs in U.K. territorial waters, Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies to over 50 percent.

Ascension Island, one of the United Kingdom’s Overseas Territories, is of significant biodiversity value. It’s home to some of the largest marlin in the world and one of the largest populations of green turtles.

The announcement comes six months after the U.K. government called for more than a third of the world’s oceans to be protected by 2030, trebling internationally-agreed targets for protected areas. 

U.K. Environment Secretary Michael Gove said that with a marine estate stretching across the globe, the United Kingdom is “uniquely positioned” to lead the way in protecting the world’s oceans and precious marine life.

“This progress towards fully protecting all of Ascension Island’s waters is an important step forward in expanding our Blue Belt and protecting a third of the world’s ocean by 2030. I hope countries around the world will follow suit,” he said.

U.K. government will now work with the Ascension Island Council to take forward the designation.

Contributing Editor reporting from London, UK

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