Australia to Create World's Largest Marine Park
Created: 2012-06-15 04:27 EST
Australia's Great Barrier Reef in the Coral Sea is one of the areas to be protected under plans to create the world's biggest network of marine parks.
The plan for a protected area the size of India has been unveiled by Australian environment minister Tony Burke.
[Tony Burke, Australian Environment Minister]:
"This is a massive step forward in ocean protection. It's a bigger step forward than the globe has previously seen. Australia is a good manager of its fisheries but that doesn't mean we can't go a step further and establish a national parks estate within the ocean."
The scheme will more than double the number of Australia's marine reserves from 27 to 60.
In total they'll cover more than three million square kilometers, a third of the nation's territorial waters.
Oil and gas exploration would be banned in the marine parks.
Burke's acknowledging the fishing industry would also be affected.
The announcement came a week before a gathering of 130 heads of state in Brazil for a U.N. conference as part of global efforts to fight climate change.