Category: Conservation

UK set to protect four million square kilometres of ocean

Our Oceans Summit announces scientific roadmap towards an evidence-based Marine Protected Area at Ascension Island

On September 15 and 16, Secretary of State John Kerry hosts the 2016 Our Ocean Conference in Washington, D.C., at which actions to protect our oceans from threats and to empower a new generation to lead the way toward a healthy and sustainable ocean have been announced.
In 2015 the UK Government made a manifesto commitment to establish ‘a blue belt around the UK’s Overseas Territories’, including by creating ‘a new Marine Protected Area around the Pitcairn Islands’ and that ‘we will designate a further protected area at Ascension Island’. At the conference Sir Alan Duncan, Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland announced “Ascension Island – renowned for its record breaking tuna which regularly weigh in at over a hundred kilograms – last year closed half its Exclusive Fishing Zone to commercial fishing. Its Government has agreed a scientific roadmap to determine the exact location of an evidence-based Marine Protected Area by 2019.”
Alongside this came the commitment from the UK government for continued funding for the duration of this Parliament to help deliver this Blue Belt commitment, in particular in terms of financing enforcement of the Ascension 200 nautical mile Exclusive Fishing Zone.

our_oceans_1 our_oceans_2
2016 was the start of a new era for Ascension Island’s marine management with the introduction of a large closed area, a strengthened fisheries legislative framework and stricter licensing criteria. Key to ensuring effective marine management however is an operational enforcement regime, something that can be logistically difficult in remote Overseas Territories with a limited budget. Funding from the Bacon Foundation (through Blue Marine Foundation) was critical in allowing a short term fisheries patrol to happen during the peak fishing season in 2016, as well as funding the management of the licensed fishery and scientific research (including shark and seabird tracking). Further surveillance was conducted by Catapult through a trial satellite surveillance project (funded by Oxford University and RSPB) to provide us with up to date intelligence on potential Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing. In April 2016 a scientific workshop, attended by 29 leading marine scientists, conservationists and policy makers, drew up a prioritised list of research needed to help inform effective management and the placement of the final Ascension MPA as well as how to evaluate its long-term effectiveness.
Protecting the unique biodiversity and the marine resources of Ascension is one of the Government’s core objectives and with the great help of international scientists and much needed funding from NGO’s (in particular Blue Marine Foundation) and the UK Government we are on the road to achieving this goal.

Read the FCO press release here.

AIG, 15 September 2016

Blue Marine charity cycle event raises funds for Ascension Island marine protection

This coming Sunday (18th September) at 8am, over 50 cyclists will be setting off from the Tower of London to undertake a ten day cycle from London to Monaco.

The cyclists have spent the past five months in the saddle rigorously training for this epic ride. As well as training, the cyclists have been working hard to raise funds, all of which will go directly towards two of BLUE’s projects that will significantly contribute to ocean protection; Ascension Island and the Aeolian Islands.

Ascension is home to some of the biggest fish in the world. The UK government has just declared half of Ascension’s waters protected from fishing, but the Ascension islanders rely on income from fishing licences. Your support will help Ascension to protect this unique marine environment.

Please visit Blue Marine’s website for further information about the event and how to donate.

Wildlife of the UK Overseas Territories event to be held in London

 

Britain's Treasure Islands Title (2)

Join explorer and filmmaker Stewart McPherson for an evening’s intrepid journey across all of Britain’s overseas lands. Travel with him from the equator to the South Pole, from lush tropical atolls in coral seas to active volcanoes and windswept Antarctic islands.

When: Thursday March 24th 6:45pm-10:00pm
Where: Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AR, United Kingdom

Tickets are £10 (£8 concessions)
Available at yapsody.com
Please send enquiries to cwensink@ukotcf.org

The UK Overseas Territories are Britain’s most remote outposts. Scattered across all Seven Seas, they cover an area seven times the size of the British Isles. They are home to 350,000 British subjects, thousands of unique species and many of the greatest wildlife spectacles on earth…
Yet few know that the territories even exist or remain part of the United Kingdom today … even fewer appreciate these islands’ natural and cultural treasures.
Stewart will recount stories and highlights from filming a 4-part documentary series (broadcast on the BBC and across the world).

Land crabs spawning

Green turtle

Episode 1 (15)

He will reveal the territories’ most amazing wildlife spectacles; from some of the biggest penguin, turtle and seal colonies to the most pristine coral reefs on the planet. And their fascinating human history; from the world’s most remote settlements, to the mutiny on the Bounty to the imprisonment of Napoleon Bonaparte.
Along the way, Stewart will share some of the trials of his three year, 70,000 km journey on RAF military flights, one of the last working Royal Mail ships, trawlers, freighters, ice breakers and private charter yachts.

Guest speakers from across the territories share their insights on these incredible islands and the globally important wildlife that they harbour.
Come for a unique evening to discover an incredible secret side of the United Kingdom. One that you never knew existed!

Green Mountain 2

Episode 1 (11)

Green Mountain 1

This event is organised in association with the UK Overseas Territories Conservation Forum. All ticket proceeds will go towards protecting and promoting the territories.

 

Congratulations!

Congratulations are extended to Rosie Dunn who was the lucky winner of a trip for two to Ascension Island!

Rosie won this once in a lifetime holiday through Ascension Island Tourism’s Frigate Bird First Day Cover competition – all purchases of the £5 First Day Cover were entered into a prize draw which took place at the Birdfair 2013 event at Rutland, UK on Sunday 18th August.

Competition Poster

 

Thanks to everyone who took part in the competition, and Rosie, we look forward to seeing you on Ascension soon!

Turtle Hatchlings Season

Please see advice below from the Conservation Department regarding Green Turtle hatchlings.

Hatchlings

After a record year for nesting females, the hatchlings are now starting to emerge. If you see any hatchlings waiting at the surface of the sand (as above), please DO NOT attempt to move them. This is normal behaviour. The hatchlings will generally wait here until evening to go to sea under the cover of darkness when predation risk is at its lowest. They can be covered with sand when they are resting like this, but please do not attempt to move them to the sea during the day time.
If you have any doubts please contact the Conservation Department (6359). We also run turtle tours throughout the nesting season and highly recommend this as a way of observing the turtles while causing minimal disturbance.

Thank you for your cooperation!