Australia to create the biggest marine reserve - BBC (Oct. 9th, 2002)
The Heard Island and McDonald Islands Marine Reserve - 4,000 kilometres (2,485 miles) off the south-west coast - will be twice the size of Switzerland and will protect one of the world's most unspoilt environments from exploitation. A number of important species live in the freezing Antarctic waters, including the endangered southern elephant seal and the sub-Antarctic fur seal. The conservation group World Wide Fund for Nature says it plans to nominate the Australian Government for the Gifts to the Earth Award - its highest recognition for conservation. BBC science writer Corinne Podger says that no foreign species have yet been introduced to the two islands and no commercial fishing is carried out there. The region was put on the World Heritage List five years ago but the Australian Government's move to make it a fully protected national park will officially ban fishing, as well as oil and mineral exploitation. Even scientific research will be limited. For more information, please see the BBC world news under the Science and Nature section.