Native Village
Youth and Education news
 MAY 1, 2010   VOLUME 3

World's largest marine reserve created
Condensed by Native Village

England: Britain created the world's largest marine reserve when it banned fishing around the U.K.-owned archipelago in the Indian Ocean. The archipelago a cluster of 55 islands that cover an area larger than California.

Commercial fishing will also be halted around the Chagos Islands for research and to preserve coral reefs and at least 60 endangered species. 

The move will "double the global coverage of the world's oceans under protection," said U.K's  Foreign Secretary, David Miliband. He added that the area "offers great scope for research in all fields of oceanography, biodiversity and many aspects of climate change, which are core research issues for U.K. science."

The move doesn't affect the U.S. military base on the island of Diego Garcia.

Conservation groups and scientists say the archipelago is some of the world's cleanest ocean. They add that it will be as important as the Great Barrier Reef or Galapagos Islands for research.

"Nearly three quarters of the planetís surface is water,  but surprisingly little of it is protected," said Jay Nelson of the Global Ocean Legacy. "For more than a century we have had the foresight to protect the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone National Park on land, but only recently have we turned our attention to protecting similarly significant places in the sea."

Miliband said the protected zone would cover 210,000 square miles of ocean where 220 types of coral, 1,000 species of fish and 33 different seabirds life.

The area is also a safe haven for dwindling numbers of sea turtles and over 175,000 pairs of breeding seabirds.

The Chagos Environment Network will replace the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, in Hawaii, as the world's largest marine reserve.

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