06/14/2012 - Australia’s government has unveiled its final plans for the world’s largest network of marine reserves, and assuaged the fears of many conservationists who said earlier proposals did not go far enough in protecting the country’s unique wildlife.
If the plans make it into national law – as is widely expected – Australia will have 3.1 million square kilometres of marine reserves around its coasts, protecting animals ranging from dugong to corals.
Jay Nelson, director of the Global Ocean Legacy project at the Pew Environment Group, says some species of tuna, sharks and other wide-ranging fish that live in the Coral Sea will now have a protected place where they will spend most of their lives. This is a not insignificant achievement when many marine reserves are less than 5 square kilometres in size, barely large enough to safeguard a wandering scallop.
“No other government on Earth has done what the Australian government has done in doing a comprehensive look at their marine waters and doing a good faith effort to manage it better. This is a first globally,” he says.
Read the full article, Extended Protection for Australian Seas in ‘World First’ Reserve Network, on Nature.com.