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Australia to establish world's largest marine reserve

By Leonard Ho - Posted Dec 01, 2011 07:00 AM
The Australian government has announced plans for the Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Reserve. The proposal will establish a new marine reserve totaling 989,842 square kilometers (roughly 380,000 square miles), making it the world’s largest protected marine area.
Australia to establish world's largest marine reserve

Aerial imagery of just a small fraction of the Coral Sea. The Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Reserve will cover magnitudes more area! Photo courtesy of WWF Deutschland

Let's put the size in perspective: This new reserve will be almost the size of Texas and California combined ... nearly three times the size of Germany!  The Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Reserve will compliment the adjacent Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and existing Commonwealth marine reserves, creating one continuous protected area.

More and more, governments are recognizing the environmental and economic value of their natural marine resources and taking steps to protect them with careful zoning regulations.  Areas within the marine reserve will be designated as one of four different zones with each zone having specific restrictions on activities.  Shipping traffic and ecotourism will be allowed in all zones, while mining/petroleum exploration is prohibited in all zones.  All protected areas will also prohibit trawling, gill nets, and demersal longline fishing.  Of particular interest to aquarists: Hand collection will be permitted in three of the four zones.  The single prohibited zone spans areas furthest offshore.

The government is accepting public comments over the next 90 days to assist in finalizing the proposals.

Author: Leonard Ho
Location: Southern California

I'm a passionate aquarist of over 30 years, a coral reef lover, and the blog editor for Advanced Aquarist. While aquarium gadgets interest me, it's really livestock (especially fish), artistry of aquariums, and "method behind the madness" processes that captivate my attention.


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