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Cetacean habitat directory for MPAs and sanctuaries

Marine region number 10 MPA number 11

MPA Name (English) Chagos Islands Marine Protected Area
MPA Name (Local) Chagos Islands Marine Protected Area
Current Status Existing

Country BRITISH INDIAN OCEAN TERRITORY – CHAGOS ARCHIPELAGO (UK overseas territory)
Location • Chagos Archipelago, some 55 islands
Size • 246,357 sq mi (638,062 sq km), includes nearly all of the marine EEZ except 3nm (5.6km) around Diego Garcia and land area of 14 sq mi (36 sq km); total EEZ is 246,552 sq mi (638,568 sq km)

Cetacean name
(common)
• sperm whale, pilot whale, killer whale, bottlenose dolphin, pantropical spotted dolphin, striped dolphin, Risso’s dolphin, various beaked whale species
Cetacean name
(scientific)
• Physeter macrocephalus, Globicephala sp., Orcinus orca, Tursiops truncatus, Stenella attenuata, Stenella coeruleoalba, Grampus griseus, various beaked whale species
Other species • sharks, marine turtles, rare crabs, birds and various marine and island species; 220 coral species and over 1000 species of fish

Rationale • Declared an MPA in Apr 2010, the Chagos Islands MPA has extraordinary biodiversity (half the coral reefs in the Indian Ocean). It includes mid-ocean ridges, trenches, abyssal plains, as well as coral reefs, atolls and banks. A scientific workshop (Anon, 2009) recommended this area for full protection. However, complications include the Chagossians who were forcibly exiled some decades ago to make way for the American naval base at Diego Garcia and denied the right to return, as well as a claim by Mauritius to the islands. The 2009 workshop noted that ‘a formal Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) consultation exercise is intended on the potential BIOT MPA with a comprehensive socio-economic assessment, including stakeholder engagement and attention to human dimension issues (ethical, jurisdictional and defence considerations)’.
Management plan
Management plan web link

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