November 28, 2011

World's Largest Marine Reserve

Protecting the pristine: Australia announces the world's largest marine reserve. It will be almost 1 million square kilometers in size. 

The proposed park will start 60km from the coast, extending out 1100km. Recreational and charter fishing would be permitted on its western side.

"Australia's vast oceans provide a source of food and resources, and are a place of recreation. But we cannot afford to be complacent," the minister said in a statement.

"In the space of one lifetime, the world's oceans have gone from being relatively pristine to being under increasing pressure."

Mr Burke said the Coral Sea's environmental significance lay in its diverse array of coral reefs, sandy cays, deep sea plains and canyons. It contains more than 20 outstanding examples of isolated tropical reefs, sandy cays and islands.

He said there was no other part of Australia's territory where so much came together - pristine oceans, magnificent coral and military history.

But some important species found in the Coral Sea were under pressure from over-harvesting and habitat degradation. "Australia has a unique opportunity to protect this precious marine environment for future generations," Mr Burke said.

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