Monday, June 18, 2012

Australia plans to create world's largest marine park network

The world's coral reefs provide shelter for a multitude of sea life. Unfortunately, many have been destroyed or are in rapid decline. Similar to other bodies of water around the world, Australia's oceans are home to an abundance of ecosystems and sea creatures such as dolphins, sharks, whales, fish and marine species which can't be found anywhere else on the planet. The oceans surrounding Australia extend from the tropics to the sub-Antarctic. Groundbreaking Strategy Recently, a historic plan was finalized by Australia to create the world's largest network of marine protected areas including preserving and fully protecting a huge reserve in the Coral Sea. Located east of Australia's world-famous Great Barrier Reef, the Coral Sea is one of the world's last intact tropical ocean ecosystems. With this monumental plan, the crown jewels of Australia will be protected from a host of destructive activity such as fishing, mining, oil and gas development. Other waters around Australia are also slated to receive the same protection. "By declaring more than one third of its waters as marine parks, Australia has made a major advance in marine conservation that is both nationally and globally significant. Coming on the eve of the Rio+20 summit on sustainable development, this is an inspiring outcome for other countries to follow," said Dermot O'Gorman, World Wildlife Fund's Australian CEO. Known in Australia as the national park zone and spanning over half-a-million square kilometers (193,00 square miles), the Coral Sea's no-take marine reserve will be the world's second largest fully protected no-take marine reserve. Second only to the Chagos Island Marine Reserve in the Indian Ocean. This reserve is part of a more extensive protected marine reserve in the Coral Sea that covers nearly 1 million square kilometers (386,000 square miles) in size. "The Coral Sea is one of Australia's natural icons and one of the last remaining places on Earth with healthy populations of large ocean-voyaging species, such as deepwater sharks, tuna, and marlin," said Imogen Zethoven of the Pew Environment Group in Australia. "By creating the Coral Sea marine national park, the Australian government has demonstrated global leadership in ocean protection." 35 Countries Show Their Support Scientists and citizens around the globe including Australia and 34 other countries rallied and pledged their support in favor of protecting the Coral Sea. The public support for this matter was the highest the Australian government has ever received for an environmental issue, according to the Pew Environment Group which spearheaded the effort. This groundbreaking decision builds on the Australia's commitment to protect the environment. According to Michelle Grady of the Pew Environment Group, "The scale of protection is unparalleled and is vital to ensuring the long-term health of Australia's unique marine life." Source -

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