Skip to main content

British Overseas Territories: Marine Protected Areas

Question for Foreign and Commonwealth Office

UIN HL14356, tabled on 7 March 2019

To ask Her Majesty's Government how the Maritime Conservation Areas around UK Overseas Territories are (1) monitored, and (2) policed.

Answered on

19 March 2019

The Blue Belt programme is actively working with UKOTs to ensure large scale Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) have effective monitoring and enforcement regimes in place. Blue Belt funding provides targeted satellite surveillance across the maritime zones of British Indian Ocean Territory, South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands, British Antarctic Territory, Pitcairn, St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha. The Programme is working closely with the National Maritime Information Centre (NMIC), allowing the use of the NMIC systems to undertake surveillance of all UKOTs, and has implemented a system to assess the risks of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. The programme is also trialling new and emerging technologies such as unmanned aerial vehicles, which potentially improve the UKOTs' ability to monitor these vast and often remote areas, in conjunction with traditional monitoring platforms where available.

The Blue Belt has also funded work to ensure there are effective legislation and robust compliance frameworks in place, to enforce the MPAs. To support the OTs, the Blue Belt programme has improved the process whereby vessel monitoring data is requested from flag states, and has raised issues of non-compliance through Regional Fisheries Management Organisations.