"The Chagos Archipelago represents a magnificent conservation opportunity that could be of lasting benefit to humanity. There can be few places on this planet that represent better value for leveraging spectacular returns. What is needed is vision and a leadership initiative by Britain to create the Chagos as an iconic, pristine area held in trust for the future of the world community." Professor Callum Roberts, University of York.

Protect Chagos is a campaign of the Chagos Environment Network (CEN)1, a collaboration of nine leading conservation and scientific organisations seeking to protect the rich biodiversity of the Chagos Islands and its surrounding waters.

The Chagos archipelago is a very special and rare place - a relatively unpolluted and undisturbed part of the Indian Ocean, with its islands, reefs and waters still teeming with life. Protecting this area would be a major contribution by the UK to global marine biodiversity conservation.

The CEN urges the UK Government to declare the Chagos archipelago and waters, out to its 200 mile Environmental Preservation and Protection Zone, a full no-take marine reserve in which extractive activities such as fishing would be prohibited. Legal fisheries operating in Chagos currently are responsible for an estimated almost 60,000 shark deaths per year through bycatch, along with equivalent numbers of rays. No data is available for bycatch of bird or turtle populations (both of which are of global importance), but it seems likely that they too are significant.

The CEN encourage people to support the designation of the Chagos as the world’s largest protected area, and by doing so, help preserve one of the most unspoiled marine environments left on Earth.

Please visit www.protectchagos.org to give your support to this campaign.

1The CEN are: The Chagos Conservation Trust; The Linnean Society of London; The Marine Conservation Society; Pew Environment Group; The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew; The Royal Society; The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds; Zoological Society of London; and Professor Charles Sheppard of Warwick University.