Australia’s Coral Sea to become the World’s Largest Protected Marine Park?

By @Len_IBTimes on

Labor is considering proposals to increase protection on Coral Sea, and distinguish parts of the world's largest marine protected area with differing levels of environmental protection, The Age reported.

The Age believes the draft proposal for half of the tropical waters between the Great Barrier Reef and the edge of Australian territory will be under ''no take'' reserves, stopping fishing.

The Coral Sea makes up 972,000 square kilometres of the world's largest marine paradise.

While there will be ''no take'' reserves in a significant part of the Coral Sea, the proposal will allow for multi-use, single-use and wilderness conservation areas allowing recreational fishing, some commercial fishing, or both, to differing degrees in the rest of the marine sanctuary.

The draft proposal is still being finalised before its release in coming weeks, said the Age.

Director of the Australian Marine Conservation Society Darren Kindleysides told the Age the proposal is the government's chance to express its dedication to leaving an environmental legacy of global significance.

"A draft bio-regional plan for the east region, including the Coral Sea, will be released later this year and will be followed by a three-month period of community consultation,'' Environment Minister Tony Burke told the Age yesterday.

However, in a feature in Fishing World last week, Burke said he wanted no-take zones to be located away from popular recreational fishing spots so that the recreational fishers will not feel changes once marine parks are rolled out and environment protection has been increased. 

The Coral Sea is bounded in the west by the east coast of Queensland, at which it connects to the Great Barrier Reef, which was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1981.

For the purpose of protecting the rich marine life at the Great Barrier Reef, all previous oil exploration projects were terminated at the area in 1975, and fishing was ordered restricted in many areas. This move proved to be a very wise decision for now the GBR continues to fluorish as the world's biggest single structure made by living organisms.

Four hundred coral species, both hard corals and soft corals inhabit the Coral Sea, and if not protected properly, these precious marine lives could be wasted away by man's abusive exploration and exploitation of natural resources.

There are over 1,500 fish species thriving in the Coral Sea, providing oxygen into the air and contributing to a rich biodiveristy in the underwater paradise. In 2010, a Chinese ship caused an oil spill at the GBR, prompting environmentalist groups to lobby for a heightened protection and conservation program at the Coral Sea. ProtectOurCoralSea.org is actively raising awareness on the value of the Coral Sea and what the government and individuals could do to help preserve it.

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