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Misool Private Marine Reserve
Photo Credit: Rob Mrowicki
Photo Credit: Rob Mrowicki
The entire exclusive economic zone of Tristan da Cunha is protected, encompassing a diversity of nearshore, open ocean, and deep sea ecosystems.
The entire exclusive economic zone of Tristan da Cunha is protected, encompassing a diversity of nearshore, open ocean, and deep sea ecosystems.

Tristan da Cunha, an archipelago in the southern Atlantic Ocean, protects its entire Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) – spanning over 750,000 square kilometers! The vast majority of the marine protected area (91%) is a Marine Protection Zone that prohibits all extractive activity. Due to the islands’ isolation, the waters surrounding Tristan da Cunha experience low levels of human disturbance, allowing marine life to thrive and develop a high level of endemism.

Covering such an expansive area, Tristan da Cunha protects ecosystems ranging from rocky coastlines and kelp forests to vast deep ocean areas and seamounts. Due to the convergence of currents and upwelling caused by seamounts, the waters of Tristan da Cunha are a highly productive biodiversity hotspot. Over 80% of the protected area has depths greater than 3000 m, and its topographically varied seamounts support abundant mesopelagic fish, cold-water coral, and sponge populations.  The archipelago’s open ocean provides breeding grounds, feeding grounds, and migratory routes for many species of marine mammals, sharks, and pelagic fish. The entire EEZ was declared a whale sanctuary by the Tristan Island Council in 2001.

In the nearshore habitats, there is high species richness among seaweeds and sponges with approximately 25% of seaweed species being endemic. In addition, the archipelago serves as a nesting ground for 25 seabird species and has the world’s largest populations of the endangered northern rockhopper penguin, great shearwater, and the endangered sooty albatross.

A small community of approximately 245 people resides on Tristan da Cunha. This small, remote community, led by its Island Council and local government, declared and have championed this vast MPA, having an outsized impact on marine conservation. Tristan da Cunha has received support from many partners, including the UK Blue Belte Programme, the UK Government, and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, among others.

Tristan da Cunha

Blue Park Facts