LONDON (AP) – Tristan da Cunha is an island in the South Atlantic with 245 permanent residents to protect the UK’s three-fold endangered rockhopper penguin, yellow-nosed albatross and other wildlife.
The British Overseas Government said on Friday that fishing and other “extraction” activities would be banned from the 627,247 square kilometers (242,181 square miles) of sea around Tristan da Cunha and the archipelago. The other three major islands.
The sanctuary will be the largest “untouched zone” in the Atlantic Ocean and the fourth largest in the world, protecting the aquatic fish and the tens of thousands of sea tigers that feed on them, the region said. The isolated area, which is equivalent to South Africa and Argentina, supports 85% of the endangered northern rockhopper penguin, 11 species of whales and dolphins, and most of the world’s sub-Antarctic fur seals, according to the Pew Bertarelli Ocean Heritage Project.
“Our life at Tristan da Cunha has always been based on our relationship with the sea, and it continues to this day,” said James Klaus, the area’s chief islander. “That’s why we fully protect 90% of our water and are proud to be able to play a key role in protecting the health of the oceans.”
The protection zone will become part of the UK’s Blue Belt project, which will provide 27 27 million (.55.5.5 million) to improve maritime security in the country’s overseas territories. The initiative now protects 11.1 million square kilometers (4.3 million square miles) of marine environment or 1% of the world’s oceans, according to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s office.
The water around Tristan da Cunha serves as a feeding ground for the dangerous Tristan albatross and dangerous yellow-nosed albatross.
The Royal Society for the Production of Birds reports that the islands are home to a wide variety of non-native birds, including the Wilkins Bunting, a rare bird in the UK, and the world’s smallest unmanned aerial train.
The Pew Fertrelli project, which promotes the creation of marine reserves around the world, said Tristan da Cunha will help conserve its waters with technology that uses real-time data to assess human activities such as marine conditions and fishing. The project is a joint venture between the Pew Foundation and the Fertrelli Foundation.
“This ambitious decision by the Tristan da Cunha Island Council to conserve the archipelago’s water is a great example of local leadership having a global impact,” said Donna Fertrelli, co-chair of the Bertarelli Foundation.
There are four main islands in the region, the largest of which is Tristan da Cunha, located 2,810 kilometers (about 1,750 miles) west of Cape Town, South Africa. It was discovered in 1643 by the Dutch.
Tristan da Cunha was captured by Britain in 1816, establishing the region’s first permanent settlement. The island was evacuated after a volcanic eruption in 1961, but the islanders returned in 1963.
The region’s most important source of income is commercial fishing for crabs known as Tristan rock lobsters, which are sold as luxury produce in the United States, Europe, Japan and China.
“This small community is one of the biggest conservation achievements of 2020,” said Becky Spide, chief executive of the Royal Society for the Conservation of Birds. “It will preserve one of the most beautiful marine environments on the planet.”