This Friday Australia officially created the largest marine reserve in the world, which has 2.3 million km2 around the continent despite the opposition from the fishing industry who fear for their jobs and the difficulties for coastal communities.
The network of six marine regions, presented last June will better protect blue whales, green turtles, bull sharks, and dugongs (a herbivorous marine mammal), the latter two are the most endangered species on the planet. The park will prohibit fishing in large areas of the northern and central coasts of the country.
Tony Burke, Minister for the Environment, said the government received around 80,000 contributions during the public consultation and the vast majority supported the project. “We must implement several actions to restore the health of our seas. Creating national parks is one of those actions,” added Burke.
Burke said that the creation of this area will affect 1% of the commercial fishing industry and has set up an Australian relief fund of 100 million Australian dollars for the companies affected.