Australia plans world’s largest marine reserve

The Australian Government has released details of its final Commonwealth Marine Reserves Networks Proposals, revealing plans to create the world’s biggest network of marine reserves.

Environment Minister Tony Burke this week released the Government’s final network of marine reserves which – once proclaimed under national environmental law – will increase the number of marine reserves from 27 to 60, expanding the national network to cover more than a third of Commonwealth waters.

“For generations Australians have understood the need to preserve precious areas on land as national parks. Our oceans contain unique marine life which needs protection too,” he said in a media statement.

“We have an incredible opportunity to turn the tide on protection of the oceans and Australia can lead the world in marine protection.

“The maps I have released today are most comprehensive network of marine protected areas in the world and represent the largest addition to the conservation estate in Australia’s history.”

The new marine reserves take the overall size of the Commonwealth marine reserves network to 3.1 million square kilometres, by far the largest representative network of marine protected areas in the world.

The announcement has been covered widely across the Tasman in New Zealand. Examples include: Australia creates largest area of marine reserves
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NZ Herald News: Australia creates largest area of marine reserves
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Radio New Zealand:  Australia to create marine reserve

Final Commonwealth marine reserves network proposal (click to enlarge)