In January 2016, the British Government created a marine reserve of 234,291km2, slightly less than the size of the United Kingdom, in the waters of Ascension Island in the Atlantic, as the result of a grant of £300,000 from the Bacon Foundation. Funding was used to close an area of just over half Ascension’s waters to fishing, police a tuna fishery in line with the best international standards in the other half, and to scope the final boundaries of a marine reserve to be planned at a later date.

The grant, administered by the Blue Marine Foundation for the Ascension Island Government, enabled the protection of waters described as a “hope spot” with high marine biodiversity by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. The waters have a host of extraordinary species including some of the largest marlin in the world, one of the largest populations of green turtles, large colonies of tropical seabirds and the island’s own unique frigate bird.