Pitcairn Islands – the ocean’s best kept secret

25 October 2013 | News story

Four and a half thousand kilometres north-east of New Zealand lies the world’s most remote group of islands – the Pitcairn Islands. The islands, which are a British Overseas Territory, are home to 50 people. They are surrounded by an exclusive economic zone of over 836,000 square kilometres, which hosts one of the best-preserved marine ecosystems on the planet.

With growing threats from industrial fishing and climate change, the Pitcairn islanders, together with the Pew Charitable Trust Global Ocean Legacy, have been working on establishing a large scale marine reserve within their waters.
 
In September 2012, the Pitcairn community, with Pew, National Geographic (both IUCN Members) and the Pitcairn Council, presented a joint proposal to the UK government for the creation of the world’s largest fully protected marine reserve. The reserve would cover most of Pitcarin’s exclusive economic zone and would exclude all forms of commercial extractive activity such as fishing, oil, gas and mineral mining but would allow for traditional subsistence fishing by Pitcairners.

Watch the short film that showcases life on and around the Pitcairn Islands: Pitcairn's beauty

Two representatives from Pitcairn came to Marseille to seek support for their proposal from the participants of the 3rd International Marine Protected Areas Congress (listen to the interview below to find more about life on Pitcairn). They both spoke at various events during the congress, including the Bright spot event organized during IMPAC, where Simon Young, Pitcairn’s Deputy Mayor, outlined their reasons for wanting to protect their waters for the world and future generations. For more information on the Bright Spot event click here