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Biodiversity: Coral Sea preservation urged

The Coral Sea.

World’s largest marine sanctuary could be key to protecting regional biodiversity

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — More than 300 scientists from 21 countries have urged the Australian government to create the world’s largest no-take marine reserve in the Coral Sea.

“Marine reserves are an important tool for managing and restoring ecosystems. They protect brood stocks for sustainable fisheries and rebuild distorted foodwebs,” said Terry Hughes, director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies. “We know how well they work because of the differences that we observe again and again between different marine zones under existing management schemes. Already, the recent rezoning of the Great Barrier Reef has resulted in a doubling of coral trout and other commercially important species” he said.

“The Australian Government’s draft plan for a marine reserve in the Coral Sea is a significant step forward – but misses a unique opportunity for Australia to demonstrate global leadership in marine stewardship, by declaring the Coral Sea … as the world’s largest no-take area,” according to the statement, signed by more than 300 scientists.  Continue reading

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Australia planning world’s largest marine sanctuary

Coral Sea preserve could be vital regional biodiversity reservoir

The Coral Sea preserve could be an important refuge for sea turtles. PHOTO COURTESY NOAA.

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By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY —Two leading scientists are urging Australians to support a government plan to create one of the world’s largest marine sanctuaries in the Coral Sea.

“The Coral Sea is one of a handful of places in the world where a very large oceanic no-take park can be created and monitored in a single national jurisdiction,” said Professors Terry Hughes and Bob Pressey of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and James Cook University. “Public comment on the proposal is now open – and it is time for all Australians to have their say.”

Details of the Commonwealth’s Coral Sea Marine Park proposal are available at http://www.environment.gov.au/coasts/mbp/coralsea/ Public comment closes on February 24, 2012. Continue reading

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