Gough and Inaccessible Islands, United Kingdom

The Gough and Inaccessible Islands site in the United Kingdom was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1995. The site, located in the south Atlantic, is one of the least-disrupted island and marine ecosystems in the cool temperate zone. The spectacular cliffs, towering above the ocean, are free of introduced mammals and home to one of the world's largest colonies of sea birds, including millions of great shearwaters (Puffinus gravis). Southern elephant seals (Mirounga leonina) have only occasionally been sighted on shore, but there is a large breeding population of sub-Antarctic fur seals (Arctocephalus tropicalis – pictured here), as well as 10 percent of the global population of northern rockhopper penguins (Eudyptes moseleyi).

Today, over 40 World Heritage sites are listed for their marine values. Together, they can be considered the "Crown Jewels of our Ocean" and are recognized for their outstanding beauty, exceptional biodiversity, or unique ecological, biological, or geological processes. Learn more about this and other marine World Heritage sites.


Ron Van Oers