Two of the world's smallest countries are to place nearly 2.5 million square kilometres of south Pacific Ocean in newly created marine protected areas. (RT @KayleighSSSOSL: "@stopfinning: Tiny Pacific Nations Open World’s Biggest Marine Parks!
The reserve, which covers more than 600,000 square miles, is the largest area in history by a single country for integrated ocean conservation and management. This is pretty amazing for a country whose combined landmass is 93 square miles, barely larger than that of Washington DC, but whose waters include environmentally valuable coral reefs, seagrass beds and fisheries.
The new Cook Island marine park will be zoned for multiple uses including tourism, fishing, and potentially deep-sea mineral extraction but only if these activities can be carried out sustainably.
The second country to announce a new marine park is New Caledonia, the Cook Islands’ Pacific island neighbor, which announced it will create a new marine protected area roughly half the size of India, covering 1.4m square kilometers.