The Australian Government announced today that it will ban fishermen from roughly one third of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. This bold step is to protect the world’s largest living structure from the impact of man.
The coral reef is threatened by record high temperatures, over-fishing and pollution.
The Government’s Environment Minister, David Kemp, explained that the plan increases so-called "Green Zones." This is the zone in which both commercial and recreational fishing are banned. This area covers from five percent of the 2,000-km (1,200-mile) reef to over 30 percent.
"The Great Barrier Reef is suffering considerable pressures at the moment from increasing usage by tourists, by fishers, by the local communities," Kemp told reporters.
"It is very important that we give the reef proper protection for the future. The reef is Australia’s greatest natural icon."
Kemp said the plan would boost the protected area to 114,000 square kilometers from 16,000 square kilometers, creating the largest network of protected marine areas in the world.