Australian Current Events
Australia is keen on creating the world's largest network of marine reserves in order to protect ocean life.
Under its plan, the Australian government announced plans to limit fishing as well as oil and gas exploration off the coast. The marine reserves would cover approximately 1.9 million square miles of Australian waters.
The government's announcement came a week before Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development to be held in Brazil.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Environment Minister Tony Burke will attend the conference, which is marking the 20th anniversary of the Earth Summit. "It's time for the world to turn a corner on protection of our oceans," Burke said, adding, "Australia today is leading that next step."
"This new network of marine reserves will help ensure that Australia's diverse marine environment, and the life it supports, remain healthy, productive and resilient for future generations," he added.
The network is likely to provide protection to sea creatures like green turtle, blue whale and species on verge of extinction like grey nurse sharks and dugongs.
The move is most likely to affect commercial fishing businesses but the government has promised to provide them $100 million in compensation. "Over the coming months, the government will consult the fishing industry and fisheries management agencies on the design and implementation of a fisheries adjustment assistance package," the minister said.
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