Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Largest Network Of Marine Reserves Announced


WDC’s contributions to work helping to secure the world’s largest network of marine reserves in Australia is paying off following the news today (16th November) that a new national network of reserves are to be created by law from midnight.

The law will ensure that more than 2.3 million square kilometres of ocean will now be permanently protected. Work on how the zones within these marine ‘parks’ will be managed will now begin.

"Australia now has, by a long shot, the world's largest network of marine reserves," says Erich Hoyt, WDC Research Fellow who heads its Global Marine Protected Area Programme. "It's a model for every country to emulate. WDC is pleased to have been able to be involved from the early stages, particularly in the Southwest Marine Region in the selection of proposed critical habitats to include whales and dolphins, and in the Coral Sea in terms of driving support for the highest levels of protection. We now look forward to working with our Australian partners on the management plans to make these marine reserve networks effective."

The new marine reserves have been proclaimed in five of Australia’s six large marine regions. These include the South-West Marine Region which extends from South Australia to Shark Bay in Western Australia is of global significance as a breeding and feeding ground for a number of protected marine species such as southern right whales, blue whales and the Australian Sea Lion.  Features in the South-West region include the Perth Canyon – an underwater area bigger than the Grand Canyon -- and the Diamantina Fracture Zone – a large underwater mountain chain which includes Australia’s deepest water. Also protected is the North-west Marine Region which stretches from the Western Australian-Northern Territory border through to Kalbarri and provides protection to the world’s largest population of humpback whales that migrate annually from Antarctica to give birth in the water off the Kimberley.

Other areas protected are:
The Coral Sea Region
The Temperate East Marine Region
The North Marine Region
The South-east Marine Region

Find out more about our campaigns to create homes for whales and dolphins.


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