Marine Management Organisation  26 October 2021

‘The Government of the Pitcairn Islands has published an ambitious five-year Marine Protected Area (MPA) management plan to protect over 841,910 square km of ocean in one of the most remote places on earth.

This plan will further protect the Pitcairn Islands’ untouched coral reefs and safeguard threatened species such as the humpback whale, green turtles and seabirds such as the Henderson Petrel.

It builds upon the work already delivered by the Government since the designation of Pitcairn’s Highly Protected MPA in 2016, one of the largest in the world. These include the development of a whale watching code of conduct and training for local operators to ensure whale watching tours could be delivered without disturbing the animals. The management plan takes initiatives like these even further whilst also underpinning the economic aspirations for the territory.

The nearly pristine nature of the Pitcairn Islands marine ecosystems means that its MPA has an irreplaceable unique global value. In addition, Henderson Island, a designated World Heritage Site, is one of the best remaining examples of an elevated coral atoll ecosystem.

The extreme clarity of the water means coral can grow at depths greater than expected for most Pacific reefs and potentially, Ducie Island’s coral reefs may also be more resilient to climate change.

Over 1,250 marine species have been recorded, including three species of whales that are listed as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List. The area is also home to hawksbill and green turtles (critically endangered and endangered, respectively); as well as three species of endangered seabirds; one critically endangered fish and one endangered fish. There are also five species of endemic bony fishes found nowhere else on Earth.

The UK Government’s Blue Belt Programme, Pew Trusts, RSPB and other key partners have assisted the Government of the Pitcairn Islands in the development of their management plan to ensure day-to-day management and protective measures are enforced across the MPA.’

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