© Jeremy Bishop

Contributing to the global MPA network

MCS supports the protection and effective management of marine environments of the UK Overseas Territories. One of the ways we are doing this is through work with partners on the ‘Back the Blue Belt’ campaign. So far over 250 MPs have signed up to support this initiative.

What is the Blue Belt?

The Blue Belt will be a series of large protected areas of ocean around seven of the 14 British Overseas Territories, all of which are under the sovereignty of the United Kingdom.

The Blue Belt consists of Ascension Island, British Antarctic Territory, British Indian Ocean Territory, Pitcairn Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, Saint Helena and Tristan da Cunha.

The surrounding areas of ocean are vast marine estates that contain breeding grounds for a quarter of the world’s penguins, a third of the world’s albatrosses, endangered turtles, and the world’s largest coral atoll. Together, these Territories will create 4 million square kilometres of ocean – an area larger than India.

Marine Protected Areas like these have been found to be a productive, cost-effective and viable way to preserve the ocean’s wildlife. They protect vital ecological processes for both local communities and the planet as a whole.

The proposal is for Overseas Territory Governments to get the support they need to create a Blue Belt. Combined with UK waters, this could become the largest network of marine reserves in the world.

The UK government, in partnership with the governments of the Territories, has the means to create marine reserves in these environmentally significant waters, helping to safeguard species from extinction and preserve entire ecosystems for generations to come.

We want the public to be a vocal part of this campaign. We want you to spread the message that marine protection works.

Why not have a look and see if your MP is signed up yet?

Acknowledgements

The ‘Back the Blue Belt’ campaign is run by the Great British Oceans coalition which includes the Blue Marine Foundation, Greenpeace, Marine Conservation Society, The Pew Trusts, RSPB and Zoological Society of London, support the vision of the UK and Overseas Territory governments to increase marine protection in the British Overseas Territories.

Actions you can take

  1. Browse Marine Protected Areas
  2. Report your wildlife sightings

Did you know?…

Over half a million people have voiced their support for ‘marine protected area’ designation in the UK through our campaigns

Over 500,000 records of undersea species and habitats have been collected by volunteer Seasearch divers

To the shelf limits, Scotland has 61% of UK waters, of which 23% are now in existing or new ‘marine protected areas’