In September 2016, the British government formally established a fully protected marine reserve in the waters surrounding the Pitcairn Islands; British officials first announced the move in March 2015. A small U.K. overseas territory in the remote central South Pacific Ocean, Pitcairn has one of the largest exclusive economic zones in the world. Within these waters lies one of the planet’s best-preserved ecosystems—a complex community of hard and soft corals that are home to hundreds of species of fish, including two found nowhere else on Earth. Pew, on behalf of its Global Ocean Legacy project partners, is working with the British government and the Pitcairn Island community to implement the Pitcairn Islands Marine Reserve and protect this important habitat for generations to come.
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Traditional and cultural non-commercial fishing by the Pitcairn Islanders and their visitors is permitted in the territorial seas of all the islands, which extend out 12 nautical miles from each. Such fishing is also allowed within 2 nautical miles of the summit of 40 Mile Reef and in the transit zone between Pitcairn and 40 Mile Reef. Read More
On a map, Pitcairn Islands appear as a green pinprick in the blue expanse of the South Pacific Ocean. But the small islands make up one of the largest areas of protected ocean on the planet. At around 320,465 square miles (830,000 square kilometers), the Pitcairn Islands Marine Reserve is almost 3.5 times the size of the United Kingdom. Read More
The U.K. government announced designation of the Pitcairn Islands in March 2015, contingent on the ability to put in place an effective monitoring system. Read More