Aerial imagery of just a small fraction of the Coral Sea. The Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Reserve will cover magnitudes more area! Photo courtesy of WWF Deutschland
Let’s put the size in perspective: This new reserve will be almost the size of Texas and California combined … nearly three times the size of Germany! The Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Reserve will compliment the adjacent Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and existing Commonwealth marine reserves, creating one continuous protected area.
More and more, governments are recognizing the environmental and economic value of their natural marine resources and taking steps to protect them with careful zoning regulations. Areas within the marine reserve will be designated as one of four different zones with each zone having specific restrictions on activities. Shipping traffic and ecotourism will be allowed in all zones, while mining/petroleum exploration is prohibited in all zones. All protected areas will also prohibit trawling, gill nets, and demersal longline fishing. Of particular interest to aquarists: Hand collection will be permitted in three of the four zones. The single prohibited zone spans areas furthest offshore.