I’ve been hearing a lot about this lately, but I still think it’s worth sharing. Australia is poised to create the world’s largest network of marine parks. This is great news for conservation-minded people such as myself, but obviously it is a very controversial issue. Many recreational and professional fishers feel that this vast network of marine protected areas will impinge on their valued fishing grounds. Their argument is that it will damage their livelihood and way of life, and that not all species targeted are in immediate danger of extinction. Be that as it may, this effort, should it proceed uninhibited, will be a landmark win for oceanic conservation. Australia has some of the most beautiful and diverse marine environments in the world, but in many areas they have already sustained substantial damage from fishing and tourism activities. I believe that most of the people who oppose the implementation of these marine parks care more about their own short-term goals than the long-term health of our planet. Australia is poised to lead the way in the all-important realm of oceanic conservation, and I really wish the U.S. would take a leaf out of their book.
Do read the article all the way through, and definitely check out the Maps. The maps show a lot of really cool detail of exactly where each protected area will be, along with the existing ones (such as the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park). As you will see, there are several different classes of protected areas/zones. If you want to read more about marine protected areas, check out this IUCN page.