Thursday, July 12, 2012

Australia Pushes Boundaries of Preservation

In June, Australia announced its intention to create the world's largest marine reserve. The reserve will cover more than a third of Australia's coastal waters, encompassing 3.1 million square kilometers of ocean. Restrictions are being placed on fishing and oil and gas exploration within the reserve.

Environmental Minister Tony Burke said, "It's time for the world to turn a corner on protection of our oceans and Australia today is leading that next step."

The areas that will be protected include the Great Barrier Reef, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage site. The areas provide support for tropical ecosystems in reefs and deep sea canyons, such as sharks and tuna among other aquatic species. A US navy ship also rests in the water which sunk in 1942 during the Battle of the Coral Sea.

Burke said he wanted the reserves to set a benchmark for the world in environmental protection and food security – access to and consistent availability of food. The plan aims to guarantee future fish stocks by preventing overfishing.

The finals plans should be announced by the end of the year.
Here is a detailed video of the plan.

Angelica Oman
Graduate Program Assistant