Potential benefits to fisheries and biodiversity of the Chagos Archipelago/British Indian Ocean Territory as a no-take marine reserve

Publication Type: Journal Article

Year of Publication: 2010

Authors: Koldewey, HJ, Curnick D, Harding S, Harrison LR, Gollock M

Journal: Marine Pollution Bulletin

Volume: 60

Issue: 11

Pagination: 1906 - 1915

Date Published: 11/2010

ISSN: 0025326X

Keywords: Bycatch, conservation, Elasmobranch, Marine biodiversity, No take, Pelagic MPAs, Tuna


On 1st April 2010, the British Government announced designation of the British Indian Ocean Territory – or Chagos Archipelago – as the world’s largest marine protected area (MPA). This near pristine ocean ecosystem now represents 16% of the worlds fully protected coral reef, 60% of the world’s no-take protected areas and an uncontaminated reference site for ecological studies. In addition these gains for biodiversity conservation, the Chagos/BIOT MPA also offers subsidiary opportunities to act as a fisheries management tool for the western Indian Ocean, considering its size and location. While the benefits of MPAs for coral-reef dwelling species are established, there is uncertainty about their effects on pelagic migratory species. This paper reviews the increasing body of evidence to demonstrate that positive, measurable reserve effects exist for pelagic populations and that migratory species can benefit from no-take marine reserves.
Research highlights
► The British Indian Ocean Territory MPA will conserve the unique, rich biodiversity of this region. ► The tuna fishery in Chagos/BIOT caused significant bycatch, especially of elasmobranchs. ► Ocean predators such as tuna and elasmobranchs have been decimated by fishing. ► Increasing evidence shows that such large MPAs can be beneficial to pelagic, migratory species.

DOI: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2010.10.002

Short Title: Marine Pollution Bulletin