Largest marine reserve
Last updated: October 15, 2017 at 17:17 pm
In October 2016 the Commission for the Conservation of Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) reached consensus on a New Zealand / United States proposal to establish a large-scale marine protected area in the Ross Sea region of Antarctica. The Agreement entered into force on December 1, 2017. The Ross Sea region Marine Protected Area covers 1.55 million sq. km (598,458 sq. mi.), of which 1.12 million sq. km (432,434 sq. mi.), or 72%, is fully protected (no fishing is permitted). It is the world’s largest Marine Protected Area.
PREVIOUS RECORD: Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (Hawaii, USA) | 1,508,870 km2 (582,578 mile2) – Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument is nearly the size of the Gulf of Mexico. The extensive coral reefs found in Papahānaumokuākea are home to over 7,000 marine species, one quarter of which are found only in the Hawaiian Archipelago. Many of the islands and shallow water environments are important habitats for rare species such as the threatened green turtle and the endangered Hawaiian monk seal, as well as the 14 million seabirds representing 22 species that breed and nest there. Land areas also provide a home for four species of bird found nowhere else in the world, including the world’s most endangered duck, the Laysan duck.
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Jeffrey Gallant is the Editor-in-Chief and Records Keeper of the Diving Almanac. He is also a contributing editor of DIVER Magazine, and the scientific director of the Greenland Shark and Elasmobranch Education and Research Group (GEERG). Jeffrey started diving in 1982.