Part of a growing trend of conservation in the developing world, the vast sea area around 10 Indian Ocean islands is now the largest protected marine area in all of Africa.
This summer, the tiny South Pacific nation of the Cook Islands made waves when it announced the creation of the largest marine park on earth, covering more than one million miles of contiguous ocean territory. “Protecting the Pacific, one of the last pristine marine ecosystems, is the Cooks’ major contribution to the well-being of not only our peoples but of humanity in general,” said Cook Islands Prime Minister Henry Puna.
Following the success of the 2012 Pacific Islands Forum in September– which even saw a cameo from US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton – the even smaller country of the Marshall Islands declared the world’s largest shark sanctuary around its isles, essentially ending the shark fin trade in the region. A true trend appears to be taking hold, where small developing state are no longer content to merely petition the industrialized world to change their ways – but take control of their own environmental destinies.
This month, it was Mozambique’s turn to surprise the international media with a declaration of its own, when the largest marine protected area in Africa announced by the country’s leadership. The park surrounds the Primeiras and Segundas, a beautiful 10-island chain in the Indian Ocean, and will cover more than a million hectares of territory filled with an amazing biodiversity.
“This is a great response to the appeal by local communities to help them protect their resources,” said the WWF Mozambique´s Country Director, Florêncio Marerua. The protected area will prove to be of enormous benefit to the country in this respect, as the area has been devastated by overfishing, and local industries may collapse without sustainable management.
“This is a very important step in our effort to achieve the conservation and sustainable management of Mozambique’s marine and coastal resources, as this adds a globally significant area to the network of marine protected areas along the country’s coast,” he said. “It is particularly exciting that both the government authorities and local communities recognise the benefits of conserving these resources.”
Read more about this story: SurfBirds.com/