Marine Protection Zone launches new website

Tristan's Atlantic Guardians Project Report

Five finger fish swimming in Tristan waters (Photo - Rob Mrowicki)

Atlantic Guardians





See also:

Tristan da Cunha Blue Belt Programme

Atlantic Guardians explained by RSPB's Siobhan Vye

What is Atlantic Guardians?

Atlantic Guardians is a project that aims to support Tristan da Cunha with their Marine Protection Zone after its legal designation in 2021. The activities in the project were designed in partnership between the Tristan da Cunha Government, RSPB and Blue Nature Alliance, to ensure that Tristan has the support it needs to get the MPZ off to a strong and sustainable start. The name “Atlantic Guardians” was chosen to highlight the commitment of the Tristan community in their role as guardians of the Atlantic, through the protection of the ocean around their islands, and the amazing wildlife it supports. Atlantic Guardians will support a wide range of activities over the next two years, from supporting the fisheries and conservation departments with marine management work, through to helping the community share their work across the globe as an example to the world of how a small community can make a big positive impact to their marine environment.

Map of the Tristan da Cunha Marine Protection Zone

The Atlantic Guardians project has four key strands: strengthening science & management; celebrating and increasing community engagement with the marine environment; building marine management knowledge and skills on Tristan, and raising the global profile of the MPZ and community of Tristan.

Some examples of the project’s activities over the next few years include:

  • Supporting the establishment of a new Sounds of the South Atlantic research programme between the Tristan Conservation department and partners in the RSPB, British Antarctic Survey and SRUC to learn more about the whales that frequent Tristan’s pristine waters.
  • Supporting the recruitment and training of a Tristanian Marine Protection Zone Officer to increase Tristan’s marine management capacity.
  • Supporting global knowledge exchange trips for the Fisheries and Conservation departments to exchange learnings & build connections with global experts in sustainable fisheries and marine conservation.
  • Support the establishment of an expert Marine Protection Zone Advisory Committee that will support the Tristan Government and Island Council with marine management strategies and decisions.
  • Implementing a communications strategy that builds the profile of Tristan’s Marine Protection Zone and celebrates the achievement of the community globally.
  • Provide marine education opportunities to Tristan school children, from involvement in conservation activities through to learning traditional boat building skills from older generations.
  • Supporting wider community involvement with marine conservation activities.

Sub-Antarctic fur seals swimming in the Tristan kelp forest (Photo - Rohan Holt)

How does Atlantic Guardians interact with wider marine management work around Tristan?

Atlantic Guardians forms one part of a wider picture of marine management work led by Tristan. Another part is ongoing work under the UK Government Blue Belt programme that is supporting the Government with research and monitoring in the MPZ. Furthermore, Tristan Government works with many other partners on specific projects that support the MPZ, such as the British Antarctic Survey, JNCC and many others.

Janine Lavarello giving a presentation on the Atlantic Guardians project
in the Prince Philip Hall on Tristan on 8th June 2022.
See: Tristan da Cunha Wildlife and Conservation News: Atlantic Guardians Talk to Islanders for more.


Project Steering Group (responsible for decision making and advice)

James Glass, Trevor Glass, Administrator, Steph Martin, Andy Schofield, Siobhan Vye, Jéssica Escobar Porras, Janine Lavarello, Dale Richards.

Core project delivery staff:


Jéssica Escobar Porras: RSPB Marine Management Support Officer based on Tristan, whose primary role is to deliver on island activities and provide additional marine management capacity to Tristan Government across all relevant Fisheries and Conservation departments work (not exclusively Atlantic Guardians supported). Reports to the Administrator on island, and supports both departments as both have marine management / research responsibilities.

Janine Lavarello: Tristan da Cunha Government Marine Protection Zone Officer – shadows and supports the MMSO to build knowledge and skills to lead MPZ work after the project finishes. Reports to the MMSO.

United Kingdom

Siobhan Vye – RSPB Project Manager: oversight of project, coordinating & supporting delivery of all project activities, and leading delivery of some UK / overseas activities.

Dale Richards: RSPB Communications Lead – supports project communications from the project.

As the project continues, we hope that the whole of the community has the opportunity to get involved with activities.