The government of Tristan da Cunha, a four-island archipelago of about 250 people, has announced that it will be protecting approximately 700,000 square kilometers of its waters. This U.K. overseas territory is a small, volcanic archipelago, but it is also one of the most diverse wildlife habitats globally. Tristan da Cunha has now established the world’s fourth-largest Marine Protected Area (MPA).

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Tristan da Cunha is home to some of the most rare and endangered species in the world. Some of the wildlife now protected under the new regulation includes sevengill sharks, yellow-nosed albatross and rockhopper penguins. The new law also protects birds and other vulnerable animals that live on the islands.

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Tristan da Cunha’s chief islander James Glass said that the measures to be implemented include banning bottom sea trawl fishing, sea mining and other activities that may harm the marine environment or its wildlife.

“Our life on Tristan da Cunha has always been based around our relationship with the sea, and that continues today,” Glass said. “The Tristan community is deeply committed to conservation: on land, we’ve already declared protected status for more than half our territory.”

The archipelago’s decision has been celebrated by U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson. This move will help the U.K. achieve its target of protecting 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030. With the new MPA, the U.K. now protects a total of 4.3 square kilometers, which is equivalent to 1% of the world’s oceans.

The U.K. government is now urging other nations across the world to take similar actions.

“We are in danger of killing our seas. We are warming them up, making them more acidic and every day we fill them with turtle-choking, dolphin-poisoning plastic that is turning our ocean into a vast floating rubbish dump,” Johnson said. “We need collective global action if we are to bequeath a world that is every bit as wonderful and magnificent as the one we inherited.”

Via The Guardian

Image via Yagerq