Maritime Protection Zone

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 19th January 2010.

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Photo of Jeremy Corbyn Jeremy Corbyn Labour, Islington North

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what organisations his Department has consulted on the proposed Maritime Protection Zone for the Chagos Archipelago.

Photo of Chris Bryant Chris Bryant Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Europe)

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has discussed the possibility of establishing a marine protected area (MPA) in the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) with a wide range of stakeholders. These include the Governments of the United States and Mauritius, other concerned Government Departments, the National Oceanography Centre, the British Geological Survey, non-governmental organisations and other organisations involved in the Chagos Environment Network (including the Chagos Conservation Trust and the Pew Environment Group) and a range of individual scientists and environmentalists. The FCO has consulted those involved in the establishment of other large scale MPAs, in particular the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument and the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument.

In order to consult as widely as possible the FCO launched a public consultation on the establishment of an MPA in BIOT on 10 November 2009. The consultation has been brought to the attention of the public in Mauritius and the Seychelles through our high commissions there and the consultation facilitator will be travelling out to Port Louis and Victoria later this month to listen to the views of the Chagossian communities and other stakeholders in Mauritius and the Seychelles. The FCO has also taken steps to draw this consultation to the attention of members of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission.

The purpose of the consultation is to seek views more widely from all stakeholders and interested parties to help the Government assess the right option for the future environmental protection of the Territory. The consultation period runs to 12 February 2010.

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