Australia plans to triple the size of an ecologically important marine park and close off an area larger than Germany to fishing and mining, the government announced Monday, protecting millions of vulnerable seabirds and animals.

The remote Macquarie Island Marine Park, located off Australia’s southeastern coast between Tasmania and Antarctica in the Southern Ocean, is set to expand to 475,465 square kilometres (about 184,000 square miles).

Around 93% of the park will be a fully protected marine sanctuary “completely closed to fishing, mining and other extractive activities,” according to Australia’s Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek.


Photo: Evan Jones


Following two months of public consultation, the Government has signed off on the marine park design. Over 14,700 submissions were received through the process, with over 99% in support.

The Minister’s decision announced today incorporates minor adjustments to the Patagonian Toothfish fishing zone in response to feedback provided by the sustainable commercial fishing industry that operate around Macquarie Island. The expanded marine park will not impact their existing operations.

This decision means our marine parks will make up over 48 per cent of Australian oceans.

News stories can be read here and here. The full announcement from the Minister can be read here.

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