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British Indian Ocean Territory: Environment Protection

Volume 501: debated on Thursday 26 November 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which international parties are considered to be stakeholders for the consultation on the proposed creation of a Marine Protected Area for the Chagos Archipelago in the British Indian Ocean Territory; what criteria were used to decide who the stakeholders were; and what weight will be given to stakeholder responses to the consultation. (302471)

The public consultation into whether to create a Marine Protected Area (MPA) in the British Indian Ocean Territory is not a limited one. The purpose of the consultation is to seek views from all stakeholders and interested parties to help the Government assess whether an MPA is the right option for the future environmental protection of the territory. We are, therefore, strongly encouraging as many people as possible to participate in the consultation.

The consultation document (pages 12 and 13) does however recognise that the international fishing community, the US, the Republic of Mauritius and the Chagossian community are all groups which may be either directly or indirectly affected by the establishment of an MPA and any resulting restrictions or a ban on fishing.

All responses to the consultation will be taken into consideration.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what (a) entitlements and (b) historic entitlements apply under international law to the management of fishing stocks within the 200 mile limits of the British Indian Ocean Territory. (302473)

The management of fishing stocks within the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) is the responsibility of the UK. The BIOT Administration contracts Marine Resources and Assessment Group Ltd. to manage the fisheries of the territory. The UK is a member of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC), both through the European Commission's membership and separately and individually through the BIOT and, as such, provides data on the BIOT fisheries to the IOTC.