What are we protecting?
Just over half of the Coral Sea Marine Reserve is protected in a sanctuary zone, and oil and gas development were excluded throughout the entire reserve. Destructive sea-floor trawling, which damages sea-floor habitats, was banned from more than 99% of the reserve and restricted to one very small area on the continental slope. More than 70% of the reserve was protected from long-line fishing. All of these major conservation benefits are now at risk.
The Coral Sea Marine Reserve was a first for Australia in creating protection across an area large enough to protect highly mobile ocean giants, such as sharks, tuna and billfish which are in dramatic decline globally. When combined with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, the two reserves together make the world’s largest marine protected area, a global icon for Queensland and Australia. Now, on the Coral Sea Marine Reserve’s eastern border, New Caledonia has just set aside one of the largest protected areas in the world – the three combined creating a very special haven for Pacific marine life.
The Coral Sea Marine Reserve has strong economic benefits, containing large sanctuaries and what is effectively the largest recreational fishing zone in Australia’s history.
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