Underwater research dive © Rohan Holt
Underwater research dive © Rohan Holt

The waters that surround Tristan da Cunha are some of the richest in the world. Tens of millions of seabirds soar above the waves, penguins and seals cram onto the beaches, threatened sharks breed offshore and mysterious whales feed in the deep-water canyons. The Tristan da Cunha Marine Protection Zone protects 687,000 km2 of pristine marine environment.  

The Marine Protection Zone (or MPZ) is one of several management zones that are designed to protect the ocean and marine wildlife in Tristan’s waters. The MPZ covers 91% of Tristan’s waters. Within this area, no activities that extract natural resources from the environment, such as fishing, are allowed to take place. This makes Tristan’s MPZ the largest protected area of its type in the Atlantic Ocean, protecting a range of marine habitats from seamounts to the deep seabed.

The inshore waters around the islands are designated as Inshore Fishing Zones where sustainable fishing is allowed, along with fishing by the local community for their own consumption. In addition, some sustainable fishing is allowed on some parts of the seamounts.

The inshore waters are also established as “Recommended Areas To Be Avoided” – this encourages passing ship traffic to avoid coming to close the islands, reducing the risks of pollution and invasive species.

Find out more about the history of the MPZ.

  • Did you know the MPZ is almost three times the size of the UK?
  • 91% of Tristan’s waters are fully protected!
  • Tristan’s MPZ is the largest no-take zone in the Atlantic Ocean

Find out more about Tristan da Cunha’s marine management https://www.tristandc.com/wildordinance.php

Marine Protection Zone gallery

Marine Protection Zone

The journey to our Marine Protection Zone began in 2010 when the Tristan da Cunha community started discussing with how to protect our pristine ocean. We were already managing our lobster fishery sustainably, but we wanted to go further.