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Chagos Marine Protection Area - The Latest News

By Val Ellis last modified Apr 28, 2010 10:31 AM

Published: 2010-04-28 10:31:52
Countries: BIOT (Chagos)

Further information received by Noonsite on 2nd April 2010

On the 1st April 2010, UK Foreign Minister David Miliband announced that the Chagos Archipelago (officially the British Indian Ocean Territory) will become the world's largest marine protected area.

Neither the effective date nor the actual regulations have yet to be announced, but there will be an absolute prohibition on taking any kind of fish or marine resource within 200 miles of of the islands. There is already a prohibition on removing any of the fruit growing on these uninhabited islands, even if it is rotting on the ground. It thus appears that cruisers will be able to eat only what they bring with them.

This, unfortunately, seems like the best case scenario. There are influential persons in London who prefer to simply ban all non-official visitors to the northern atolls. It is too early to know what will happen next or what, if anything, can be done about it.

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Written by George Curtis (Ocean Cruising Club)
Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Chagos Conservation Trust

The Trust campaigns to make British Indian Ocean Territory (which includes Diego Garcia) into a protected area. By defending the half million square miles round Chagos we can help the reefs survive. The Secretary of the Trust (an FPS member) asks that you respond to the government consultation (http://www.fco.gov.uk/resources/en/pdf/21153320/mpa-consultation-101109 ) or by contacting David Miliband at the FCO (www.biotmpaconsultation@fco.gov.uk ).

Resposes must be made by 12th February. Cruising yachtsmen might state the need for any new conservation regulations for Chagos to include the requirements of cruising yachtsmen for freedom of navigation and the provision of protected and sheltered anchorages.

See also http://www.chagos-trust.org for the background to the plans for conservation.

Update by noonsite.com 15 February 2010

The deadline for comment has been extended by the Foreign Office to 5 March.

For the other side to this conservation debate, see the Independent article Man vs Marine in the Chagos Islands. Conservationists want to turn this archipelago into a giant sea-life reserve. But what about the exiled population whose hopes of going home would be dashed forever? Some say that the only people who have an interest in the cruisers are the Chagossians, who hope to resettle the northern atolls and could use whatever small income can be obtained from cruisers, but see their real value as people with many needed skills that the Chagossians will need to re-learn after 40 years.

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