Chagos Conservation Trust

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Welcome to the Chagos Conservation Trust

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.

Latest News Articles

  • The Chagos Conservation Trust wholeheartedly welcome the government announcement to declare Pitcairn's waters a fully protected marine reserve. This latest addition to the UK’s growing network of ocean reserves in its overseas territories will make a valuable contribution to the health of the global marine environment.
  • At the invitation of the editor of Ocean Digest, which is the Quarterly Newsletter of the Ocean Society of India, Charles Sheppard has contributed a well illustrated summary of some ocean warming effects and other related matters as they pertain to the Chagos Archipelago.  The Society web pages, where the full issue with many interesting articles can be seen, is at 
  • It is now well established that large marine protected areas (MPAs) are a very important way to conserve marine habitats.  As the UK has territories with large marine EEZs spread around the globe, the creation of large MPAs in the overseas territories is a good way to contribute to protecting global marine biodiversity. A superb new website giving information about the benefits of these MPAs can be seen at 
  • A recent paper in Nature has highlighted what makes MPAs highly effective.
  • The lates issue of the CCT newsletter, Chagos News, has been posted on the CCT website under Resources -> Newsletters.  It is the 45th issue of our journal and it has articles about research that will be carried out there this year as well as an article by Prof Charles Sheppard on seal level rise in the area.  This link will take you straight to the issue.


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