Thursday, 1 October 2015

New Zealand announces huge new marine preserve

SEPTEMBER 30, 2015

by Brett Smith

In a surprise move, New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key announced plans to establish a marine preserve nearly the size of Texas in an area of the South Pacific.

Called the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary, the marine preserve would sit north of the New Zealand mainland and include both an archipelago and underwater volcanoes. The sanctuary would ban both fishing and resource extraction within its borders.

“The Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary will be one of the world’s largest and most significant fully-protected areas, preserving important habitats for seabirds, whales and dolphins, endangered marine turtles and thousands of species of fish and other marine life,” Key said in a press release.

The preserve will be officially established after legislation is passed, expected to happen sometime next year.

If established, the preserve would include the 6.2-mile deep Kermadec trench, one of the deepest trenches in the world. The trench is known to have a rich biodiversity, including whales, sea lions, endangered turtles, and sea birds. In addition to helping conserve protect species, Key said the move would also benefit New Zealand economically.

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