Britain Announces Marine Reserves

Reported in The Times today, September 15, 2016:

Four vast marine reserves are to be created around remote British islands in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, the Foreign Office will announce today.

Commercial fishing will be banned permanently in a million square kilometres of ocean teeming with sharks, turtles and whales.

Destructive methods of fishing will be banned in another million square kilometres.

The bans come into force immediately around Pitcairn in the south Pacific and St Helena in the south Atlantic.

Reserves will be created around Ascension island in the south Atlantic by 2019 and Tristan da Cunha, also in the South Atlantic, by 2020.

Britain will pledge £20 million over the next four years to manage and enforce the new reserves, which will be known as marine protected areas.

Enforcement is expected to include occasional visits by a patrol vessel but will largely be undertaken by a “virtual watch room” that merges satellite tracking and imaging with fishing vessel databases.

Agreements will be sought with other countries to blacklist any vessels caught fishing illegally, meaning that they could be impounded when entering a port.

Sir Alan Duncan, the Foreign Office minister, will announce the creation of the reserves at the Our Oceans conference in Washington hosted by John Kerry, the US secretary of state.

Before the conference, Sir Alan said that the new reserves would double the area of ocean under protection around the UK Overseas Territories to about four million sq km, an area greater than the landmass of India.

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