When it comes to protecting marine life, Britain is going big. After announcing in February it was considering several locations for preservation, the government revealed plans earlier this week to create what will be the world’s largest fully-protected marine reserve, covering an area of the Pacific Ocean nearly the size of France and Germany combined.
The reserve will be created around the Pitcairn Islands archipelago, an overseas British territory with a population made up of the descendants of the sailor who staged the infamous mutiny on the Bounty ship in 1789, reports Phys.org.
“The government intends to proceed with the designation of a MPA (Marine Protected Area) around Pitcairn,” said the recent budget brought down by British finance minister George Osborne.
Of course there are some strings attached to the deal. According to the British government, in order to be finalized, the reserve plan has to include satellite monitoring of the whole area, to prevent ports from landing illegal fish catches and naval patrols.
The 322,138-square-mile area was spearheaded by U.S. charity Pew Charitable Trusts. Once established, it will protect at least 1,249 species of marine mammals, seabirds and fish – along with the world’s deepest-known living plant, a species of encrusting coralline algae that lives deep down at more than 1250 feet below sea level.
“The new reserve protects some of the most near-pristine ocean habitat on Earth,” Pew said in a statement.
“The Pitcairn Islands Marine Reserve will be a refuge of untouched ocean to protect and conserve a wealth of marine life,” added Pew Global Ocean Legacy Director, Matt Rand.
And it looks like protecting large swathes of ocean is all the rage for governments these days, as U.S. President, Barack Obama announced the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument last year – protecting a whopping 490,000 plus square miles of ocean in the Pacific.