[Coral-List] Chagos Tribunal and Chagos conservation

Douglas Fenner douglasfennertassi at gmail.com
Fri Mar 27 22:30:08 EDT 2015

    Thanks so much for that explanation, Charles.  I think what you say
makes total sense.
    The Chagos archipelago, other than Diego Garcia, is probably the
largest collection of near-pristine reefs left in the world.  It is
unique.  We have very little near-pristine reef left in the world, and this
is the largest amount of it, perhaps as much as half of all left in the
world (I don't know).  But it is incredibly valuable, given that we now
know that the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), long thought to be near-pristine
and the best managed reef system in the world, is no longer pristine.  Add
to that the fact that most of the world's reefs are in decline and some
such as in Florida and much of the Caribbean, are in very sad shape
indeed.  When we're all fighting as hard as we can to save the world's
reefs, letting the largest single near-pristine reef system in the world be
degraded would be counter-productive, ultimately hurt everyone, and a
     We know that the world has a huge number of poor people, and that
coral reefs can and do, provide services such as food from fishing.  Food
that is desperately needed by millions of poor people.  The Chagos
archipelago is a world treasure, much as we've always thought of the GBR
as.  And it is a huge treasure.  Should we kill the goose that laid the
golden egg?  Or keep it alive so it continues to provide benefits???  I
think the latter.
    I sincerely hope that Mauritius and Britain will work cooperatively,
together with  other interested parties, to produce a plan that is focused
on the long term good for both Chagos AND the people of Mauritius.  That
means avoiding uncontrolled fishing that depletes stocks and leads to lower
long term catches than a well-managed fishery.  It also means managing for
ecosystem health, so that the reefs are the gift that keeps on giving.  The
same is true of the tuna stocks in the EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone).  But
for me, the real gem is the huge, near-pristine, coral reef system.
    Can't we all work together for the benefit of all???  (If we're smart
we will, since we will all benefit in the long term.)    Cheers,  Doug

On Tue, Mar 24, 2015 at 4:13 AM, Sheppard, Charles <
Charles.Sheppard at warwick.ac.uk> wrote:

> People might like to recall that it was a coalition of several of the UK's
> largest and most respected science societies and NGOs that advised the
> government to declare the Chagos MPA, not just the Chagos Conservation
> Trust and Pew!  There is very good reason for this of course and a visit to
> the chagos-trust.org can explain why they did, as can the 250+ papers
> written so far by a couple of hundred scientists.
> The Tribunal also declined to find any improper motive for the
> declaration, as has been often repeated, as have various earlier judgments
> too.  It is all for conservation of a very large set of largely undamaged
> reefs, the largest such tract left in the world.   Scientists operate
> within governmental constraints of course - as in most places.  Here the
> government listened to scientists, and this is not liked by those opposing
> the MPA
> no-take rules.
> So the Tribunal ruled that Mauritius holds legally binding rights to fish
> in the waters surrounding the Chagos Archipelago.  Whether this is a
> set-back to marine conservation or whether it is a new beginning for Chagos
> conservation will depend on the action of Mauritius in its reaction to
> this court ruling.  On the one hand it could say that having had these
> rights legally recognized, it did not want to exercise them, but rather to
> have its scientists and conservationists join the international
> conservation efforts to maintain a world-class fully protected marine
> reserve for the huge benefit of millions of people in Indian Ocean States.
> That would indeed be a new beginning for Chagos conservation and one which
> we and others concerned with marine conservation would wholeheartedly
> welcome.  Or they could seek to exercise those rights, which would be a
> set-back to marine conservation and science, though how big a setback would
> of course depend on the scale, locale and enforcement of the fishing.  With
> power comes responsibility.  We hope and would wholeheartedly welcome
> Mauritius joining conservation efforts and we have several times offered to
> fund Mauritian scientists  (using UK government
>  funds) to join in with the conservation work - without success so far,
> but we hope this will change.
> Our intent is to do whatever is possible under government framework to
> protect that large tract of reefs and prevent or hugely delay any slide
> into the condition seen in most other reefs of that ocean.
> Best wishes
> Charles
> _______
> Professor Charles Sheppard
> Chair, Chagos Conservation Trust
> _______________________________________________
> Coral-List mailing list
> Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> http://coral.aoml.noaa.gov/mailman/listinfo/coral-list

Douglas Fenner
Contractor with Ocean Associates, Inc.
PO Box 7390
Pago Pago, American Samoa 96799  USA

phone 1 684 622-7084

"belief in climate change is optional, participation is not."

Politics, science, and public attitudes: What we're learning, and why it
matters.  Science Insider, open access.


Homeopathy ineffective, study confirms.


website:  http://independent.academia.edu/DouglasFenner

blog: http://ocean.si.edu/blog/reefs-american-samoa-story-hope

More information about the Coral-List mailing list