Through the years since the first definitive issue of Pitcairn stamps was released in 1940, the philately of Pitcairn Island has enjoyed a much-sought-after status among stamp collectors throughout the world.
Pitcairn Marine Reserve
Since early 2011, the Pew Environment Group’s Global Ocean Legacy project has been working with the Pitcairn islanders on the idea of establishing a large scale marine reserve within their waters. In 2012, a scientific survey of the Pitcairn Islands marine environment started the process of establishing a case for the designation of a marine reserve.
The expedition, conducted by the National Geographic Pristine Seas Project, revealed a vibrant, untouched ecosystem. The survey showed that the waters of the Pitcairn Islands contain one of the two remaining raised coral atolls on the planet, as well as 40 Mile Reef, the deepest and most well-developed coral reef known in the world.
In 2013, Pew and the National Geographic joined the locally elected body, the Pitcairn Island Council, in submitting a proposal to the United Kingdom Government calling for the creation of a marine reserve to protect these spectacular waters. In September 2016, the Pitcairn Island Marine Reserve was legally announced, and is recognized as the fourth largest marine reserve in the world. Under this designation all fishing and seabed mining is banned in the area 12 to 200 nautical miles from the coast of each of the four islands in the Pitcairn Archipelago (an area of about 836,000 square kilometers – 3½ times the size of the United Kingdom). Within the waters up to 12 miles from the coast of each island, the Pitcairn community is permitted to fish sustainably.
Home to at least 1,249 species of marine mammals, seabirds and fish, the new reserve protects some of the most pristine ocean habitat on Earth. This designation “will protect the true bounty of the Pitcairn Islands,” said National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Enric Sala, head of the Pristine Seas Project. “Our scientific exploration of the area revealed entirely new species as well as an abundance of top predators like sharks. It was like travelling to a new world full of hidden and unknown treasurers.” The Pitcairn Island Council added, “The people of Pitcairn are extremely excited about this designation as one of the world’s largest, highly protected marine reserves in our vast and unspoiled waters of the Pitcairn Islands, including Ducie, Oeno, and Henderson Islands. We are proud to have developed and led this effort in partnership with Pew and National Geographic to protect these spectacular waters we call home for generations to come.”
The United Kingdom Government sought to review cost effective monitoring and enforcement options for the highly isolated marine reserve. The Pew Trusts, in partnership with the United Gvoernment Innovation Center’s ‘Satellite Applications Catapult’, responded. They developed and adopted a 21st century solution – Project Eyes on the Seas (EOS) – which uses multiple layers of information, including that derived from satellites, to identify where vessels are, who they are, and what they are doing. Over a one-year trial period, the technology demonstrated that Pitcairn is a high compliance area, with no illicit activity identified within the Marine Protected Area. Through the trial, the United Kingdom Government recognized that it could enforce highly protected marine reserves remotely, in a way that is affordable and efficient. In the years to come the Pew Trusts, in partnership with the Bertarelli Foundation, will continue to fund the monitoring of the Pitcairn Island Marine Reserve using EOS, and in so doing will provide information that can alert United Kingdom Government officials of suspicious activity that they can act upon in a timely manner.
Pitcairn Marine Reserve Collectors Notes:
Designer of the stamps: Denise Durkin, Wellington, New Zealand.
Printer of the stamps: Southern Color Print, Dunedin, New Zealand.
Printing process used: Offset Litho.
Stamp size: 32.00 mm x 23.57 mm horizontal.
Format: Sheetlet of 8 stamps. Sheet size 152 mm x 107 mm.
Perforation Gauge: 13.125 x 13.575.
Denominations: $1.00 x 4 stamps and $2.00 x 4 stamps.
Paper: 103gsm Tullis Russell Yellow/Green phosphor stamp paper.
Period of sale: July 26, 2017 for a period of two years.
Acknowledgment: The Philatelic Bureau wishes to thank the following for making this issue possible: PEW Charitable Trusts; National Geographic; Dave McAloney and the Pitcairn Community.
Pitcairn Stamp Issues
(Click small stamp images to see larger views.)
Below is a listing of all Pitcairn stamps issued since 1940 when Pitcairn Island began issuing its own stamps