In this Issue:
I have some very good news! The Australian government recently released its final marine plan for Australia’s exclusive economic zone, and I’m pleased to say that it includes the Coral Sea Marine National Park of 502,000 square kilometers (194,000 square miles) in area—which would make it the second-largest no-take marine reserve in the world after the Chagos and about the size of Spain (and 25 percent larger than California).
The Coral Sea is one of the largest and most biologically intact areas in the world’s oceans and is home to more than 80 species of sharks, rays, dolphins, and whales, as well as spectacular coral reef systems. Over the past five years, our Australian staff led a committed coalition of 15 Australian and international conservation groups in a challenging campaign to achieve protection for this special area. And this year, almost a half-million individuals voiced their support for strengthening the government’s draft plan, which resulted in significantly improved protection for some of the sensitive reefs of the Coral Sea.
This was our fourth successful project since the inception of Global Ocean Legacy, including the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument in 2006, the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument in 2009 and the Chagos Marine Reserve in 2010, which collectively have added more than 1.5 million square kilometres (580,000 square miles) of fully protected ocean.
Each of Global Ocean Legacy’s campaigns is strengthened by our friends and colleagues, like you, around the world. Thank you for caring about the ocean, and here’s to continued success in ocean conservation!
Director, Global Ocean Legacy
Pew Environment Group
Australia Announces Historic Ocean Protection in the Coral Sea
World’s largest network of marine reserves includes massive fully protected marine park in Coral Sea
June 14 was a bright day for global ocean conservation with the Australian government’s decision to create a no-take marine national park in the Coral Sea. At 502,000 square kilometres (194,000 square miles), the new no-take Coral Sea Marine National Park would be the second largest such area in the world after the UK’s Chagos Marine Reserve in the Indian Ocean.
Following the announcement, Global Ocean Legacy’s Coral Sea campaign director, Imogen Zethoven, said: “The Coral Sea is one of Australia’s natural icons and one of the last remaining places on Earth with healthy populations of large ocean-voyaging species, such as deep-water sharks, tuna, and marlin. By creating the Coral Sea marine national park, the Australian government has demonstrated global leadership in ocean protection.”
Announced just before world leaders gathered in Rio de Janeiro for the U.N.’s Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), the announcement generated significant media attention in Australia and internationally (see In Case You Missed It. . .).
In the months to come, Global Ocean Legacy’s Coral Sea campaign will closely follow the government’s announced plan. A 60-day public comment period on it begins on July 11, followed by the development of a management plan. Stay tuned for more updates in future issues of The Legacy Navigator!
“The marine environment at the Kermadecs is as close to 'pristine' as it is possible to find anywhere in the world.”
- Jonathan Gardner, Jonathan Gardner, DEEP1, 2010
New Zealand's Kermadec Region Celebrated through Art and Science
In 2007, Global Ocean Legacy, with the help of three New Zealand conservation organizations, began an effort to protect the Kermadec region, north of New Zealand’s North Island. This area includes the Kermadec Trench, which is five times deeper than the Grand Canyon, and the Kermadec island chain extending more than 2,000 kilometers (1,243 miles) northeast from New Zealand toward Tonga. These waters include some of the most geologically active and biologically unusual features on Earth and are teeming with birds, whales, dolphins, fish, turtles, and other sea creatures, many of which exist only there.
In May 2011, Pew’s Kermadec Initiative sponsored nine of the South Pacific’s most lauded artists on a voyage to the Kermadec region. Sailing on the HMNZS Otago, the artists were able to experience the expanse, mystery, and wonder of the Kermadec region firsthand. Since returning from the voyage, the artists have created a new and critically acclaimed body of work that is being exhibited across New Zealand and the Pacific. A small selection of the artists’ works travelled to the Kingdom of Tonga and Rapa Nui, Chile, to share the story of the Kermadec region, the artists’ voyage, and the commitment to ocean protection that the experience has inspired.
In addition to contributing to these educational and science-focused exhibitions, the artists have lent their high-profile voices to the promotion of ocean conservation in New Zealand and the wider Pacific. During the past year, their commentaries—about the Kermadec region and the experience of visiting it—have been made available to the public through Kermadec books, videos, articles, and lectures (see www.thekermadecs.org and Facebook page “TheKermadecs”).
Inspiration from this special place goes beyond artists—it has been felt by scientists around the world. Recently, Global Ocean Legacy’s Kermadec campaign, working in partnership with a team of renowned scientists, released the Kermadec Science Discussion Paper. This document articulates why the Kermadecs are globally important to scientists as a research laboratory and outlines a framework for answering important research questions. According to the scientists, “What makes this place especially valuable to science is that, as well as containing healthy ecosystems, it is—so far—largely unexplored and may yet hold many secrets vital to Earth’s life-supporting processes.”
The Kermadec Science Discussion Paper begins the process of setting directions and priorities for an integrated approach to scientific research across the full scope of the Kermadecs—maximising opportunities offered by this natural laboratory and ensuring that the discoveries are disseminated for the benefit of the wider scientific community, decision makers, and the general public.
View photos from the artists' voyage:
Bermuda's Blue Halo Unveiled
Bermuda, a U.K. Overseas Territory, is located in the North Atlantic 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) from the East Coast of the United States. This small island, with 60,000 residents, sits within the Sargasso Sea, an amazingly diverse marine area that has confounded mariners for centuries and offers secret hiding places to an abundance of ocean creatures.
In 2010, at the request of the Bermuda government, Global Ocean Legacy staff began working with local conservation and community groups to explore the idea of a large marine reserve in Bermuda’s waters. The proposed reserve would surround the island like a doughnut; the inner zone would include the area fished commercially and used for sport and food. The outer area, or “Blue Halo,” would become the largest no-take marine reserve in the Atlantic, demonstrating Bermuda’s leading role in global marine conservation.
Recently, leading up to a public consultation for the proposed reserve, our staff has increased public outreach efforts to communicate the many benefits of a Blue Halo reserve. These efforts have made our Blue Halo T-shirts and stickers—calling on people to be “a believer” in the Blue Halo—a hot commodity across the island. Local businesses have joined in the effort as well by placing signs in their storefront windows. And Jim Toomey, creator of the nationally syndicated daily comic strip “Sherman’s Lagoon,” has also added his support through a new animated video.
Our Bermuda Blue Halo Initiative was also recently featured at a local TEDx event and a gathering of the Young Presidents’ Organization, a worldwide association of young CEOs who demonstrate strong business leadership skills. Richard Rockefeller served as master of ceremonies for the evening presentations and spoke, along with Dr. Sylvia Earle, about how the Blue Halo is a stepping-stone for greater Sargasso Sea protection.
View photos from the event:
In Case You Missed It:
Sign up to get the Legacy Navigator delivered directly to your inbox!