Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Chagos crisis - sign up now!


Since last November, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has been running a consultation on a proposal to set up a marine reserve around the Chagos Islands. The image here is borrowed from the FCO literature.

The consultation is due to close on 12 February 2010.

Greenpeace and others are organising an on line petition to persuade the FCO to set up a reserve. This petition has an endorsement from Professor Callum Roberts.

Two recent news stories add background to the issues. The Guardian on 27 January gives a gallery of images, and includes a piece by Tony Juniper, where he says “Protecting the Chagos archipelago is a rare opportunity for the UK to create a conservation area as important as the Galapagos islands or Great Barrier Reef”. The story also makes clear that the consultation process has excluded the inhabitants of Diego Garcia, evicted by the British to make way for a US air base years ago. The bloggers are making hay discussing the politics and the conservation issues. A lot of heat & only a little light.

However, The Times in an article on 22 January adds another twist, by pointing out that “ A company belonging to the Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser is opposing plans to create the world’s biggest marine reserve. His company holds a government contract to manage fishing in the area, which would be banned if the reserve were created”

Murky waters - indeed. It appears that the CSA himself and a whole range of officials cannot see a vested interest, even if it slaps them in the face.

Please sign the petition NOW!

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