It is an exciting and challenging time to be working on Ascension Island. The Marine and Fisheries department are working to develop management strategies for the inshore recreational and sports fishing sector alongside the implementation of potentially one of the largest MPA’s in the Atlantic, under the Blue Belt Programme. Adequate fisheries legislation is required in order to be able to effectively protect fish stocks and the marine environment, regulate fisheries and ensure compliance with international obligations. Work is being funded by Blue Marine, The Darwin Initiative and CSSF and in collaboration with CEFAS, the MMO, SAERI and other academic institutions from around the world. Our scope is broad, collecting both oceanographic and ecological data to inform decisions. With the department being relatively new, the collection of baseline data in an almost pristine environment is the main focus. We are incredibly fortunate here with waters containing many apex predators such as Galapagos, Blue, Oceanic white tips and Hammerhead sharks, giant Yellow Fin tuna, Wahoo, Dorado and we are home to the second largest Atlantic breeding colony of Green Turtles. We are always looking for new ideas and working partnerships to help fill the knowledge gaps here and welcome visiting researchers, PhD or Masters students in support of this.
The aim of this talk is to highlight the successes and challenges we have faced at this early stage of development and hopefully inspire people to get involved.
Having completed a BSc and Masters at the University of Southampton, Kate Chadwick is now a Marine & Fisheries Scientist working for the Ascension Island Government on Ascension Island, one of the UK’s overseas territories in the South Atlantic Ocean. Kate also sits on the Ascension Island Natural Capital advisory group.