New Caledonia government Tuesday voted to set up marine protected areas (MPAs) surrounding the reefs, and to strengthen an existing one around Entrecasteaux, which is already a UNESCO World Heritage site.
It is known as home to a rich array of wildlife including 2.5 million seabirds and over 9,300 marine species, such as dugongs - marine mammals related to manatees - and nesting green sea turtles, many of which thrive in and around remote zones off the island nation's coast. The archipelago is enacting similar measures to those taken in visitor hot spots such as Boracay in the Philippines and Maya Bay in Thailand. So now 28,000 square kilometers (10,810 square miles) of waters safeguarded from commercial and industrial fishing and other exploitation, helping conserve habitats and allow marine life to feed and reproduce undisturbed.
Natural Park of the Coral Sea, New Caledonia
Tourist activity around the reefs, evaluated at 27,000 visits in the first three months of the year, is also set to be more rigorously controlled. The rules, covering an area that includes about one-third of the world's undisturbed coral reefs, will be enforced with the help of French naval surveillance from sea, air and space."This is the kind of leadership we need to see in coral reef conservation and we applaud it," said John Tanzer, the head of oceans for WWF International. New Caledonia New Caledonia has an enormous 1.3 million-square kilometer Coral Sea Natural Park, which was established in 2014 and covers the country's entire exclusive economic zone.