05/19/2009 - The Federal Government has moved to protect nearly one million square kilometres of ocean off Australia's north-eastern coast while it considers whether to set up a new marine park or several of them in the region.
Environment Minister Peter Garrett announced the move this morning, establishing the Coral Sea Conservation Zone in Australian territorial waters east of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
A spokeswoman for the US-based Pew Environment Group, Elise Hawthorne, says today's announcement is a welcome step.
"We're just really supportive of anything that protects the Coral Sea," she said. "It's such an amazing, spectacular marine jewel that's part of Australia, and it's got an extremely important heritage value as well."
Read the full article Coral Sea Gets Interim Conservation Status on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Web site.