Tristan da Cunha - Conservation Priorities

Conservation Policy
  • A policy should be established to diminish the risk of introduction of potentially damaging organisms to all islands in the Tristan da Cunha group.
  • Regulations regarding tourist and other visits to uninhabited islands should be drafted and vigorously enforced.
  • The ponds at Nightingale Island should be designated as Ramsar sites for their large populations of yellow-nosed albatross and adjacent Wilkins' bunting habitat.
  • All rockhopper penguin colonies on the main island of Tristan should be afforded sanctuary status.
  • An environmental Advisory Committee should be established to cover all the proclaimed nature/wildlife reserves and sanctuaries within the Tristan da Cunha group.
  • Principles espoused in the Gough Island Management Plan need to be applied to the management of all the uninhabited islands in the group.

The Tristan da Cunha Conservation Ordinance should be revised to encompass all biota.

Wildlife reserves declared under the Conservation Ordinance should be upgraded to nature reserves, to protect all organisms as well as natural features found within the reserves.

The limit for reserves should be extended to 12 nautical miles from shore.

Education, Training and Public Awareness

A visitor's guide to the natural history of the Islands should be produced.

The island museum on Tristan should be expanded to include an account of the islands' natural history.

Protected Areas
A management plan should be drafted for the newly declared Inaccessible Island Nature Reserve.
Biodiversity (Species)

Monitoring programmes are needed to assess whether the current levels of exploitation of great shearwaters and rockhopper penguins on Nightingale Island are sustainable.

A monitoring programme is needed to assess whether the current level of exploitation of the island tree Phylica arborea for wood on both Nightingale and Tristan is sustainable.

Low-level monitoring of flax Phormium tenax (and other potentially damaging alien plant species) is needed on Inaccessible and Nightingale Islands, with the option for control operations if deemed necessary.

Vessels visiting the islands should be advised of the problem of seabirds being dazzled by bright lights at night, and the use of floodlights on ships operating offshore should be discontinued. 

Biodiversity (Habitats)

A survey of plants and invertebrates, with special emphasis on endemic species, is required on the main island of Tristan.

The impact of sheep grazing on the vegetation and other biota of the base and peak of Tristan should be investigated.

The status and impacts of introduced invertebrates on all the islands should be assessed.