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Marine Science


Tristan da Cunha creates huge marine reserve

Tristan da Cunha creates huge marine reserve

The tiny community of Tristan da Cunha, the UK Overseas Territory located between South Africa and South America in the South Atlantic, has committed to fully protecting 687,000 sq. km of their territorial waters from fishing and all extractive activities.

This is an ocean area nearly three times the size of the UK.

This will protect some of the world’s most important seabird breeding sites, including the endemic Tristan Albatross. It will also safeguard populations of seals, penguin colonies, bluefin tuna and blue sharks.

Marine conservation group, Blue Marine Foundation, has welcomed the news and says it was delighted to work with the Becht Family Charitable Trust to provide key long term support for the community of Tristan da Cunha.

This innovative approach, led by RSPB and National Geographic Pristine Seas, will support this extremely remote community that does not have the opportunity to create the revenue streams that would usually be derived from hosting a marine protected area, such as tourism.

BLUE co-founder and trustee, Chris Gorell-Barnes, said ‘This is exactly the sort of innovative partnership between community, government, NGOs and philanthropy that the world needs to see more of if we are to achieve the global goal of protecting at least 30% of the ocean by 2030.’


Tristan da Cunha

tristan-da-cunha-creates-huge-marine-reserveTristan was first discovered in 1506 by the Portuguese sailor Tristão da Cunha. However, Tristão was unable to land on Tristan because of accessibility difficulties and rough seas. Despite this, Tristão named the island ‘Ilha de Tristão da Cunha’ – roughly translated as ‘The Islands of Tristão da Cunha’. The name was changed to Tristan da Cunha at a later date.

The island is a dependency of Saint Helena – a British Overseas Territory. Tristan da Cunha’s motto is “Our faith is our strength”, and its National Anthem is the British God Save the Queen. The island’s capital (and most populated city) is ‘Edinburgh of the Seven Seas’, more commonly called Edinburgh. In 2005, the Royal Mail assigned Tristan the postcode of TDCU 1ZZ. This was for two reasons:

– the mail was getting lost because the island had no postcode

– the capital was being confused with the Scottish city of Edinburgh.

The territory consists of a number of islands – Tristan da Cunha (38 square miles approximately), the uninhabited Nightingale Islands, and the wildlife reserves of Inaccessible Island and Gough Island.





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