Thursday, September 11, 2008

Australia to have world's largest marine protected area?

In the beginning of 2008 the Pacific state Kiribati declared the world's largest marine protected area that covers area of about 164,200 square miles, roughly the same size as California. But if the things work out good this could change very soon, in a couple of months time, as Australia could establish a gigantic 400,000-square-mile Coral Sea Heritage Park where fishing would be banned.

The initiative came form The Coral Sea Campaign that includes significant number of environmentalists, marine scientists and former navy officers, all working together to protect marine ecosystems. This Coral Sea Heritage Park should spread east of the Great Barrier Reef, on Australia's northeastern coast, extending to the country's maritime boundaries with Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and New Caledonia.

This area is rich with biodiversity, there are plenty with abundant population of sharks, tuna, swordfish and marlin, that are overfished in many other seas. This marine ecosystem also includes some endangered species like Hawksbill and Green sea turtles, and is also home to more than 20 species of whales and dolphins, and 13 species of sea birds.

This marine sanctuary with its rich life and definitely needs to become gigantic conservation area, having so many unique ecosystems, and such rich biodiversity. But not only that this area holds ecological importance, it is also important from historical point of view as this was the site of the 1942 Battle of the Coral Sea that was one of the turning points of World War II where Allies prevented Japanese forces from landing in New Guinea.

Now it is all down to Australian Environment Minister Peter Garrett who should make his decision by early next year. Hopefully a positive one.

Hopefully Australia will soon have world's largest marine protected area

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