Did you know that New Zealand is going to create one of the largest marine protected areas on the planet? The Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary, which will span 620,000 square miles of the South Pacific Ocean, will be one of Earth's foremost fully protected marine ecosystems, featuring 150 types of fish, 35 species of whales and dolphins, and three types of sea turtles.
This amazing area is considered vital in terms of biodiversity and it's particularly remarkable in terms of geology, due to the fact that it sits on the world's largest chain of submerged ocean volcanoes and the second deepest ocean trench (10 km deep, which is deeper than Mt. Everest is tall!). All types of recreational and commercial fishing will be banned in the area, as will any type of mineral mining and oil prospecting.
Opponents of the sanctuary express concern over the issue of imposing a cost on the mining and fishing industries so important to the New Zealand economy, but the prime minister of New Zealand John Key counters this point by saying, "creating protected areas will support not only our fisheries, but also those of our Pacific neighbors, adding to New Zealand's efforts to help grow Pacific economies through the responsible management of our ocean resources."
Kermadec ocean sanctuary enters a growing number of ocean reserves in the Pacific, including three existing sanctuaries protected by the US, UK, and Australia, respectively. Matt Rand, director of the Pew Charitable Trust's global ocean legacy campaign, states that "this commitment is an exciting step toward meeting global goals to safeguard at least 30% of the ocean through fully protected marine preserves." At Water Gallery, we believe that preserving our ocean and marine life are at the forefront of protecting our planet and it's stories like this that give us hope!
As always, reduce, reuse, recycle. Small, everyday changes can make a big difference.