Thursday, June 14, 2012
Under the Australian government's plan, an additional 44 large areas of marine reserve will be added to nation's existing network of protected zones, encompassing the nation's most important aquatic ecosystems. Once fully implemented by year's end, approximately one-third of Australia's territorial waters will be under legal protection -- totally a whopping 1.2 million square miles of ocean.
"For generations Australians have understood the need to preserve precious areas on land as national parks,'' said Minister Burke, as reported by The Daily Telegraph. "Our oceans contain unique marine life which needs protection too.''
Going forward, the broad swaths of marine reserve will be off limits to commercial fishing and oil exploration in a bid to protect the fragile aquatic ecosystems from the harmful impacts of overfishing and offshore drilling.