A grant of £300,000 ($A606,000) from the charitable Bacon Foundation will be used to close an area of just over half the island’s waters to fishing, police a tuna fishery in the other half, and work out the final boundaries of a marine reserve which could be declared, given local agreement, as soon as 2017. It will measure 234,291sq km.
The grant, which will be administered by the charity Blue Marine Foundation for the government of the island – part of a British Overseas Territory – will enable the protection of waters described as a “hope spot” with high marine biodiversity by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
The waters have a host of extraordinary species including some of the largest marlin in the world, one of the largest populations of green turtles, large colonies of tropical seabirds and the island’s own unique frigate bird.
James Duddridge, Minister for the UK Overseas Territories, said: “The UK Government is particularly grateful to the Bacon Foundation for providing (£300,000) to cover costs of enforcement over the coming fishing season and to contribute to surveillance, science and management for the next 18 months.