The Australian government announced an historic decision today to create the world’s second largest system of marine protection in its waters, including a massive, fully protected marine reserve in the Coral Sea.
The protected marine reserve will be safeguarded from all extractive activity, including mining, oil and gas development, and fishing. In addition, its creation will ensure the protection of more than a third of its fragile coral reefs.
The new reserve will span 500,000 square kilometers (roughly the size of Spain or 25% larger than California) and will be the world’s second largest fully protected no-take reserve after the Chagos marine reserve in the Indian Ocean which, like the Coral Sea, is also a Global Ocean Legacy site.
Australia’s Coral Sea, located east of the world-famous Great Barrier Reef, is recognized as the country’s marine jewel and one of the world’s last intact tropical ocean ecosystems. It is home to more than 80 species of sharks, rays, dolphins, and whales, as well as spectacular coral reef systems. As a key spawning and migratory home for countless species, it is an essential hub for ocean life in the Pacific. Continue reading