The Australian Government has declared two new massive marine parks in the Indian Ocean in a bid to conserve the area.
Sussan Ley, the Minister for the Environment, announced on Wednesday the government would establish two new marine parks covering up to 740,000 square km, an area bigger than France and twice the size of the Great Barrier Reef marine park, around Cocos and Christmas Islands off the coast of Western Australia (WA).
It will increase the proportion of Australia’s waters under marine park protection from 37 to 45 percent.
Ley said the move will deliver greater protection from illegal fishing operations.
“This is an international marine treasure on Australia’s doorstep, one that is from a scientific perspective relatively undisturbed and undiscovered,” she said in a statement.
“The Christmas and Cocos Islands boast some of the most fascinating and unique ecosystems on earth and this is about extending that protection to the surrounding waters of the Indian Ocean,” Ley said.
Marine parks are declared as either green, yellow, dark blue or light blue zones with each designation offering a different level of protection.