Monday, 22 September 2008

Pew proposes Coral Sea Heritage Park

On 10th September 2008, the Pew Environment Group and partners launched a report which calls for a no-take oceanic park in the Coral Sea covering one million km2. Extending east from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, the Park would encompass Australia’s maritime boundary with Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and New Caledonia. The Coral Sea is an Australian ecological and historical treasure. It has more than 25 spectacular coral reefs and abundant wildlife including sharks and rays, turtles, whales and dolphins, seabirds and majestic pelagic fish such as tuna, marlin and swordfish. The Coral Sea also has a rich maritime history. In May 1942, it was the site of a naval battle that turned the tide of World War II in the Pacific. Many trading ships were reduced to shipwrecks on its remote reefs and atolls.

The Pew Envrionment Group says that Coral Sea offers the Australian Government an unparalleled opportunity to protect a vast area of the world’s tropical marine environment and an area of great cultural significance. The initiative is part of a collaborative effort, Global Ocean Legacy, managed by the Pew Environment Group, supported by the Oak Foundation, the Robertson Foundation and the Sandler Family Supporting Foundation.

The Coral Sea project works with Australian environment groups including the Australian Conservation Foundation, Australian Marine Conservation Society and the Cairns and Far North Environment Centre. The proposal is supported by the Australian National Maritime Museum, the American Australian Association and the Battle for Australia Commemoration National Council.