Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

World's Largest Contiguous Marine Reserve Created to Stop Illegal Fishing

World's Largest Contiguous Marine Reserve Created to Stop Illegal Fishing

British Prime Minister David Cameron's government announced the creation of the world’s largest contiguous ocean reserve on Wednesday, protecting 322,000 square miles around the remote Pitcairn Islands in the South Pacific. To put that in perspective, that's three and a half times the size of the United Kingdom and bigger than the state of California, according to National Geographic.

Pitcairn's residents implored the UK government to protect the area, which is threatened by illegal fishing.

Pitcairn's residents implored the UK government to protect the area, which is threatened by illegal fishing. "No fishing or seafloor mining will be allowed in the reserve, except for traditional fishing around the island of Pitcairn by the local population," according to Enric Sala, a National Geographic explorer-in-residence who led an expedition to the area in 2012 that helped make the scientific case for the area's protection.

The UK leads the world with the highest percentage of its territorial waters (30 percent) under protection (it, of course, helps to be a former global empire with a lot of island territories). The U.S. did, however, win the title for the largest non-contiguous network of reserves when the Obama administration preserved nearly 490,000 square miles of waters around its remote Pacific island territories last September.

The remote nature of the islands have kept the marine ecosystems largely intact until the recent rise in illegal fishing. “Pitcairn’s waters contain some of the few pristine coral reefs left on the planet,” says Sala. “They also contain intact seamounts [submerged mountains] and deep-sea habitats that have not been touched by trawling and which harbor many species yet to be discovered by science.”

"Only about one percent of the world’s ocean is protected in reserves that ban fishing," says National Geographic. "There is an urgent need to protect" these pristine ecosystems, says Sala. The funny thing about marine species is they don't care about politics or whose jurisdiction they fall under. They just want to thrive.

Watch this video from National Geographic which shows Sala's scientific expedition to the Pitcairn Islands and the island's stunningly beautiful coral reefs and other marine life:

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Undersea Superheroes Save Imperiled Marine Life » EcoWatch

Drought-Stricken California Has One Year Left of Water, NASA Scientist Warns

4 Inspiring Eco-Films Featured at One of the World’s Best Film Festivals

An Edith's Checkerspot butterfly in Los Padres National Forest in Southern California. Patricia Marroquin / Moment / Getty Images

Butterflies across the U.S. West are disappearing, and now researchers say the climate crisis is largely to blame.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A wildfire burns in the Hollywood hills on July 19, 2016 in Hollywood, California. AaronP / Bauer-Griffin / GC Images

California faces another "critically dry year" according to state officials, and a destructive wildfire season looms on its horizon. But in a state that welcomes innovation, water efficacy approaches and drought management could replenish California, increasingly threatened by the climate's new extremes.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Wisdom is seen with her chick in Feb. 2021 at the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge. Jon Brack / Friends of Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge / Flickr / CC 2.0

Wisdom the mōlī, or Laysan albatross, is the oldest wild bird known to science at the age of at least 70. She is also, as of February 1, a new mother.

Read More Show Less
Wind turbines in Norway. piola66 / E+ / Getty Images

By Hui Hu

Winter is supposed to be the best season for wind power – the winds are stronger, and since air density increases as the temperature drops, more force is pushing on the blades. But winter also comes with a problem: freezing weather.

Read More Show Less
Jaffa Port in Israel. theDOCK innovated the Israeli maritime space and kickstarted a boom in new technologies. Pixabay

While traditional investment in the ocean technology sector has been tentative, growth in Israeli maritime innovations has been exponential in the last few years, and environmental concern has come to the forefront.

Read More Show Less