Australia to Create World’s Largest Marine Reserve

Australia has announced that it will create the world’s largest marine reserve, a network of protected areas that will cover 1.2 million square miles, more than one-third of the country’s waters.

Environment Minister Tony Burke, making the announcement in advance of the Rio+20 sustainability summit, said the action will expand the number of Australia’s marine reserves from 27 to 60 and will protect waters of the Coral Sea and other key ocean habitats.

“It’ time for the world to turn a corner on protection of our oceans, and Australia today is leading that next step,” said Burke. “What we’ve done is effectively create a national parks estate in the ocean.”

Limited fishing and oil drilling will be allowed in some areas, and the fishing industry will receive hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation for reducing or eliminating commercial fishing in numerous tracts of ocean.

Article appearing courtesy Yale Environment 360.

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