border="1" align="right" src="http://www.gadling.com/media/2006/03/kiribatireef.jpg" alt="" />From
News: The Republic of Kiribati, a tiny country in the South Pacific, has just designated 73,800 square miles
of Pacific atolls, coral reefs and deep ocean as one of the world’s largest marine reserves. This region, called
the Phoenix Islands Protected Area, will protect "some of the planet’s most pristine coral reef ecosystems,"
and is the third largest such marine park in the world: Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and the Northeaster
Hawaiian islands are the larger two.
This initiative was announced by Kiribati President Anote Tong at
the Eighth UN Conference on the Convention on Biological Diversity in Curitiba, Brazil. "If the coral and
reefs are protected, then the fish will grow and bring us benefit," the president said. "In this way
all species of fish can be protected so none become depleted or extinct."
Because of the new
designation, the region will be closed to commercial fishing. However, what I’m looking forward to hearing is
whether the region will be open to recreational diving.