25 Nov '11, 7am

Australia plans world's biggest marine protection zone

Australia plans world's biggest marine protection zone

SYDNEY: Australia plans to establish the world's biggest marine protection zone to safeguard a huge swathe of the Coral Sea, a biodiversity hotspot brimming with life, the government said Friday. The proposed Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Reserve off the northeast of Australia would cover about 990,000 square kilometres (380,000 square miles) -- an area more than one-a-half times the size of France. "Australia's vast oceans provide a source of food and resources and are a place of recreation. But we cannot afford to be complacent," Environment Minister Tony Burke said. Under the plan, which the Australian government says will be the biggest marine protection area in the world, oil and gas exploration would be banned and new limits imposed on fishing. The environmental significance of the Coral Sea within Australia's Exclusive Economic Zone lay in its diverse array of coral...

Full article: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapacific/vi...

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