This website is dedicated to the science, conservation and history of the Chagos archipelago. Chagos contains some of the world’s healthiest coral reefs and the cleanest sea water, sediments and marine life tested so far in the world. It is a reservoir of biodiversity for an over exploited ocean.
Where and what is Chagos?
Chagos is located in the central Indian Ocean, about 1,500 km from the southern tip of India, 3,400 km due east of Africa and 3,000 km west of Indonesia.
Chagos is an archipelago of 55 tiny islands, of which the largest is Diego Garcia, in over quarter of a million square miles of the world’s cleanest seas. It contains the largest coral atoll on earth and over 60,000 square km of shallow limestone reef and associated habitats, and about 300 seamounts and abyssal habitats. It is by far Britain’s greatest area of marine biodiversity.
Politically, Chagos is constituted as the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT).
The Chagos Marine Reserve
On 1st April 2010, the British Government announced the creation of the Chagos Marine Reserve. This designation of a fully no-take marine protected area (MPA) out to the 200 mile limit created the largest marine reserve in the world, a conservation legacy almost unrivalled in scale and significance. It will contribute greatly to a number of globally agreed targets, such as the Convention on Biological Diversity target to protect 10% of the oceans by 2020.
No other action taken by the United Kingdom makes anything like such a considerable contribution to these agreed global targets. This decision undoubtedly establishes the UK as a world leader in marine conservation for the benefit of all nations.
Few other MPAs have the same degree of protection that Chagos has been given, with the entire area designated as a fully protected no-take marine reserve.
Explore the Chagos MPA online
In February 2015 The Chagos Conservation Trust supported an expedition that captured a number of the islands and reefs of the Chagos MPA for Google Street View. Explore the archipelago at the following links: Islands - Reefs Just search the thumbnails in the right hand navigation bar for any links from the British Indian Ocean Territory. Enjoy the views!