ASCENSION ISLAND STAMPS
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There are five settlements on the island, with Georgetown being the administrative capital and port. The island is home to around 1,100 inhabitants, mostly Saint Helenians but also 200 British and 150 US Citizens.
Due for release 9th November 2021
Blue Belt Programme
The UK Overseas Territories (OTs) are home to globally significant biodiversity. The UK Blue Belt Programme recognises this, and since 2016 has worked with the Governments of these Territories to enhance the protection and management of these precious marine environments.
The Blue Belt enhances marine protection by supporting work in five key areas:
● understanding and protecting biodiversity
● strengthening governance
● managing human impacts
● supporting sustainable fisheries management
The Blue Belt Programme helps UK OTs and the UK work together to improve understanding of the effectiveness of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and how to improve them. This work is supported by two world leading organisations – the Centre for Environment Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) and the Marine Management Organisation (MMO).
Covering an area nearly the size of France, Ascension Island’s Marine Protected Area (MPA) is home to some of the largest fish species found anywhere on earth. Giant tuna, marlin, swordfish and sailfish are among the vast abundance of marine wildlife in this UK Overseas Territory, as well as 11 species of coastal fish found nowhere else on earth.
Now it is completely closed to large-scale commercial fishing, including destructive longline fishing. It provides 445,000 square kilometres of the Atlantic Ocean with some of the highest marine protection seen anywhere on the planet. Mining activities will also be prohibited, ensuring the unexplored deep seabed and the hydrothermal vents that run along the Mid Atlantic Ridge will not be disturbed. Cutting edge satellite technology and remote surveillance will enable a small team to enforce compliance.
These stamps highlight and celebrate some of the elements of the Ascension MPA.
£1 – Yellowfin Tuna
Yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares) are found in pelagic waters of tropical and subtropical oceans worldwide. It is one of the most common tuna species within Ascension’s Marine Protected Area (MPA), and one of the main pelagic species caught by fishermen around the island. YFT are among the largest tuna species, reaching weights of over 400 lb. YFT begin their life as almost microscopic zooplankton. At this stage, they suffer very high levels of predation by fish, jellyfish, larger zooplankton and seabirds. To combat this, YFTs reach sexual maturity at the age of two (when they are around 1m in length) and reproduce via broadcast spawning. This is when males and females release millions of eggs and sperm in the water column at the same time. This method increases the likelihood that the eggs will be fertilised while decreasing the chances of predation.
£1 – Masked Booby
The Masked Booby is a large, pelagic, ground-nesting seabird with predominantly white plumage and a distinctive orange bill and feet. Adult males and females are morphologically similar but can be distinguished by their calls. Juveniles are greyish brown above with a pale belly. Most prey (mainly flying fish) is obtained by plunge diving from a height of 10-30m.
Masked booby nesting at Ascension Island is currently concentrated on the summit plateau of Boatswain Bird Island and around the Letterbox Peninsula in the east of the Island. Small numbers of nests can also be found in the vicinity of Coconut Bay and Hummock Point
£1 – Green Turtle
Ascension is one of the remotest oceanic islands in the world. Each year on Ascension Island between approximately 6,000 and 25,000 nests are laid by the Green Turtle making this the second largest nesting colony of this species in the Atlantic Ocean, the largest being Costa Rica. The green turtles that nest on Ascension Island are the largest of this species in the world, being approximately 1.5 metres in length and 150 - 300 kg in weight. Males and females migrate from Brazil, where they feed, to Ascension Island in order to breed and in the case of females lay their eggs. They then return to Brazil and repeat their migration every 3 - 4 years. Just how they find this small and remote island is not fully understood, and is considered one of the most amazing navigational feats of the animal kingdom.
£1 – White Striped Cleaner Shrimp
The White striped cleaner shrimp has two broad red stripes on either side of a central white stripe. It lives in groups of two usually found in crevices or under boulders where it has a cleaning station for fish, removing parasites on which it feeds. The shrimp is both male and female and can grow up to 6cm.
STAMP ITEM NUMBERS
95th Birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
The Ascension Island Post Office takes great pleasure in releasing a set of six stamps in celebration of The Queen’s 95th birthday.
The stamps will be released on Her Majesty’s actual birthday, 21 April. Each of the stamps depict key aspects of Her Majesty’s life, from a young Princess, to her Coronation and Marriage as well as managing to enjoy some Leisure time and Pageantry, out and about fulfilling her Royal Duties.
On her twenty-first birthday, 21 April 1947, Princess Elizabeth was with her parents and younger sister, Princess Margaret, on a tour of South Africa. In a speech broadcast on the radio from Cape Town, the Princess dedicated her life to the service of the Commonwealth. The theme of the stamp issue, “Devoted to your service”, is taken from that speech: “I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.”
This special issue is a collaboration between 11 postal administrations which sees the three Crown Dependencies, Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man, join The Bahamas and seven UK Overseas Territories, Ascension Island, British Antarctic Territory, British Virgin Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands, and Tristan da Cunha to mark the birthday of the world’s longest reigning monarch.
- 15p Princess. HRH Princess Elizabeth of York, later Queen Elizabeth II, circa 1932. (Photo by Popperfoto via Getty Images/Getty Images).
- 20p Coronation. Queen Elizabeth II leaving Buckingham Palace for her coronation at Westminster Abbey, London 2nd June 1953. (Photo by Monty Fresco/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images).
- 35p Marriage. The Queen and Prince Phillip enjoy the scenery at Balmoral in Scotland. (Photo by © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/Corbis via Getty Images).
- 65p Leisure. Queen Elizabeth II in the gardens of Balmoral Castle with her pet dogs in 1952. (Photo by © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/Corbis via Getty Images).
- £1 Pageantry. The Queen and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh travel down The Mall in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach after attending the State Opening of Parliament on May 27, 2015 in London. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images).
- £1.60 Royal Duty. The Queen visits Watergate House to mark the centenary of GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters), the UK's Intelligence, Security and Cyber Agency on February 14, 2019 in London. GCHQ was formed in 1919, under the original name of the GC&CS (Government Code and Cypher School). Watergate House was the Agency's first home and a former top-secret location. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images).
- The FDC features two images of Her Majesty; a contemporary picture of the Queen who is fondly known throughout the world and a beautiful portrait, circa 1929, of the young Princess Elizabeth before it was realised that she would be acceding to the throne. (Photos via Getty Images).
Designer Bee Design
Printer Cartor Security Printing
Perforation 13 ¼ x 13 ¼ per 2cms
Stamp size 36 x 36mm
Sheet Layout 10
Release date 21 April, 2021
Production Coordination Creative Direction (Worldwide) Ltd
Island Treasures - December 2020
2020 has been a remarkable year and with so many restrictions on travel it has been an opportunity for everyone to reflect on their local environment and to discover and celebrate their local gems and treasures. On Ascension we have chosen just twelve of our treasures to share with the world. Some of them will be familiar, but they are our treasures that we never tire of seeing.
15p Bonetta Cemetery: In the lava flows behind Comfortless Cove lies the Bonetta Cemetery, named for the Ship that landed in 1838, its crew ravaged by fever. More than a dozen men were buried here from this and other plague ships.
20p Land Crab: The land crab is Ascension Island’s largest native land animal and only lives on four small, South Atlantic islands, of which Ascension is by far the largest. Despite being true crabs and thus originating from the ocean, land crabs are adapted to live in very dry climates and considerable distances from the sea. Though all land crabs on Ascension are from the same species they can vary from yellow-orange through to a deep purple.
Despite adaptations for living on land, the land crabs of Ascension are still required to return to the ocean in order to breed. Despite resilience and adaptations to living on land, Ascension Island land crabs populations are still under threat.
Today, land crabs on Ascension Island are protected by law, any harvesting, injury or intentional killing being entirely illegal. However, a number of crabs are still unintentionally killed each year, particularly around breeding periods, as crabs cross roads and are accidentally hit by vehicles. The Ascension Island Government Conservation Department continues to raise awareness and monitor populations so that these marvels of nature and adaptation remain part of Ascension Island, as they have for thousands of years.
25p The Red Lion, Green Mountain: Green Mountain is the oldest and highest part of Ascension Island. A steep, winding road, with some very sharp hairpin bends, goes as far as the Red Lion. Records suggest that the Red Lion was completed in 1863 and was used as a mountain barracks for non-commissioned officers stationed there in support of the mountain farm. It continued to house farm workers until the 1990s, at which point the mountain farm was permanently closed. It has since been renovated and the ground floor of the building serves as a display area, with the first-floor housing a lecture theatre and classroom facility.
30p Deadman’s Beach: Situated in Georgetown, Deadman’s Beach is one of the picturesque and breathtakingly beautiful beaches on Ascension. Its stunning beauty is clearly seen during the sunlight hours and more especially at Sundown. Popular with the Islanders, Deadman’s is very good for fishing and is a great place to catch some of the Island’s Lobster Crayfish, Grouper and Moray eel.
40p St Mary’s Church, Georgetown: The building was completed in 1861 and consecrated on 9th May, Ascension Day of that year. Since then it has undergone many careful renovations. Prior to being built services were held outside the old barracks in Georgetown and usually conducted by the senior officer of the garrison. Inside are plaques commemorating many who died on the island both at sea and from illness. The church holds historical records of island births, marriages and deaths. It retains contemporary social significance for the local community and those abroad being used for weekly worship, weddings, baptisms and funerals. The chaplain of the island was originally provided by the Royal Navy, then Royal Air Force and nowadays from the Anglican Church, Diocese of St Helena, Province of South Africa.
50p Green Sea Turtle: Due to its remoteness, Ascension Island makes for an undisturbed breeding ground for green sea turtles and is the second largest nesting site in the Atlantic Ocean. Generally migrating from Brazil, the green turtles are protected on Ascension under the Wildlife Protection Ordinance 2013. While we have to keep a respectful distance, stay quiet, and refrain from using flash photography it is possible to see the turtles coming ashore to lay their eggs. It is a truly amazing experience.
60p Resplendent Angelfish: One of Ascension’s most beautiful endemics is the resplendent angelfish. This diminutive fish (only a few centimetres long) is coloured a vivid purple-blue with a golden stripe running along its back and has historically been highly valued in the aquarium trade, until it was protected by the 2013 Ascension Island Wildlife Protection Ordinance. The Ascension Island Government Conservation Department continues to investigate and study the marine environment in order to protect not only the endemic fish species, but all aspects of this unique ecosystem.
65p Ascension Donkeys: Donkeys were brought to Ascension in 1815 primarily to move water from Green Mountain into Georgetown. Shortly after they became feral. To this day the numbers are not large but they can be found wandering beneath Two Boats all the way into Georgetown. Tourists love to stop along the roads to photograph and feed them apples and such.
£1 Ascension Lily: This beautiful lily originates from South America although it could equally have been imported from West Africa. It blooms twice a year on Ascension and its bulbous rootstock ensures its survival even in the absence of rain. It has become the national flower of the island.
£1.30 Ascension Island Frigatebird: The Ascension Frigatebird is Ascension’s only endemic bird species. In the past, vast numbers of nesting pairs could be found on Ascension. However, with human colonisation and the subsequent introduction of rats and feral cats, the population declined significantly and was confined to breeding on the large offshore stack, Boatswain Bird Island, the only suitable alternative nesting site.
In 2001, a feral cat eradication programme was initiated on the Island, led by the RSPB, and the last known feral cat was removed in 2004. Seabird re-colonisation of the mainland was first recorded in May 2002 and numbers have increased steadily since. In December 2012 two pairs of Frigatebirds were discovered nesting on the mainland – a momentous occasion in the history of conservation work on the island.
£2.50 Boatswainbird Island: Boatswain Bird Island (BBI) Sanctuary is a barren, steep island rising to 104m, with a relatively flat top of nearly 3ha, located 300m north of Letterbox peninsula. Birds have nested on the cliffs and plateau for so long that the rock is permanently white from the layers of guano coating the island.
This island is an important nesting site for most of the seabird species on Ascension. The name boatswain bird is the alternate common name given to the red-billed tropicbird, one of the birds to nest on the island. Other nesting species include storm petrels, white-tailed tropicbirds, red-footed boobies, brown boobies, masked boobies, black noddies, common white terns and Ascension Frigatebirds.
BBI is also home to several invertebrates including endemic pseudoscorpions. The immediate waters surrounding BBI have high numbers of young sharks, which suggests that it is an important nursery habitat for Ascension's shark species. BBI is protected by the National Protected Areas Ordinance 2003.
£5 Wideawake Tern: The most numerous nesting seabird on Ascension is the Wideawake or sooty tern. Despite predation from cats and egg collecting (in the 1830s marines could collect as many as 120,000 eggs a week although this became illegal in the 1960s) and then the decision by the US Army to build the runway on their favourite nesting area numbers are still in excess of 250,000 nesting pairs. It can be an incredible sight to see thousands of the birds hovering above you.
Designs Bee Design
Printer Cartor Security Printing
Process Stochastic Lithography
Perforation 13 ¼ x 13 ½ per 2cms
Stamp size 42 x 28mm
Sheet Layout 10
Release date 22 December, 2020
Production Coordination Creative Direction (Worldwide)
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