Australian government announced their plans to create the world’s largest network of marine reserves. The area covered would be about 1.2 million square miles of ocean including the entire area of the Coral Sea, The Seattle Times reports.
Environment Minister Tony Burke stated that the government would pay about $100 million to the fishing industry in order to compensate the new restrictions on operations that will take effect as of this year.
The plan is to protect the Coral Sea, as well as the Great Barrier Reef, from oil and gas exploration. This area of about 500,000 square miles consists of shallow reefs which support tropical ecosystems with sharks, coral, sponges and many fish species.
Government’s plan has the aim of securing future fish stocks by preventing overfishing.
Enric Sala, a National Geographic explorer in residence said: “If we’re going to protect 10 percent of the ocean by 2020, the first places that need to be protected are the last wild places in the sea. But we still need to create hundreds of thousands of protected marine reserves in places where people live and fish to make a living.”
This plan would protect areas before becoming accessible and it would protect the areas in cold-temperate waters off southern Australia where various fish species are inhabited.
Subsea World News Staff , June 14, 2012