Australia now has largest network of marine protected areas

June 18th, 2012
By

It's official.

Australia announced last Thursday its decision to create the world's largest network of marine protected areas, including a fully protected marine reserve in the Coral Sea.

The Coral Sea no-take marine reserve — known in Australia as a national park zone — spans 503,000 square kilometers (or 194,000 square miles) and will be the world's second largest fully protected no-take marine reserve. Watching PEW's video of the Australian Marine Reserves will take your breath away and give you an appreciation for the beauty of the Coral Sea.

It surpasses Hawaii's Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands — which in 2006 was the largest fully-protected marine reserve in the world at 362,000 square kilometers (140,000 square miles).

“Once again, Australia is leading the world in protecting its marine environment and the unique wildlife it contains,” said Joshua Reichert, managing director of the Pew Environment Group. “The Coral Sea joins the growing number of large, fully protected marine reserves in the world, adding to the emerging recognition of the need to conserve the special places in our ocean.”

More than 486,900 people from across Australia and around the world publicly declared their support for strong protection of the Coral Sea through efforts led by the Pew Environment Group. This is the highest level of public support ever received by the Australian government on an environmental issue. In addition, more than 300 marine scientists from 35 countries, including Australia, endorsed the need for protecting the Coral Sea.

Click here for a list of maps and fact sheets.

Wreck Reef at Coral Sea, Australia. Photo by Xanthe Rivett.

Marine life at Wreck Reef in the southern part of Coral Sea Islands, Australia. Photo by Xanthe Rivett.

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