September 2012

Cook Islands launch world's largest marine park

2012-Sep-3   ::   (0 comments)

The world's largest marine park is being created in the southern waters of the Cook Islands. An area twice the size of France will include a core area where all fishing is banned and special zones where tourism and carefully monitored fishing will be allowed.

Launching it at the Pacific Islands Forum in Rarotonga, Prime Minister Henry Puna said it was the Islands' contribution "to the well-being of not only our peoples, but also of humanity". And he called on other Pacific islands nations to follow the lead and create an enormous protected zone. With increasing demands to capitalise on the vast fishing and potential sea bed mineral reserves, Puna claim the park was a means of promoting sustainable development. He said it would do that "by balancing economic growth interests such as tourism, fishing and deep-sea mining, with conserving core biodiversity and natural assets, in the ocean, reefs and islands." The Islands territorial waters cover nearly 2 million square kilometres of the South Pacific and the new park at 1.1 m square kilometres stretches across almost half of that.