Australia plans to create a marine park the size of Spain around remote islands off its southeast coast, the government announced Sunday.
The project aims to triple the size of the Macquarie Island Marine Park, bringing the total area of the protected area to 475,465 square kilometres.
These protective measures mean the area will be “completely closed to fishing, mining and other extractive activities,” according to Australia’s Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek. However, existing fishing operations targeting toothfish (a carnivorous fish) can continue.
King penguins, sea lions
Macquarie Island is located halfway between Australia and Antarctica and is home to king penguins, fur seals and a sub-Antarctic science centre.
“Macquarie Island is an exceptional place. It is a wonder for fauna and flora, an essential breeding ground for millions of seabirds, seals and penguins,” said Tanya Plibersek.
Environmental groups support the move, fearing the area could become a target for seabed mining and unsustainable commercial fishing.
Source: BFM TV