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Colby College

Publication Date

Spring 2013

Program Name

Australia: Rainforest, Reef, and Cultural Ecology


The proposed Coral Sea Marine Reserve covers approximately 989,842 square kilometers and is in an area that is internationally recognized for rich biodiversity, unique species and important heritage values. The reserve was established to protect and maintain biodiversity and to contribute to international (UNCED) and national obligations (EPBC, NRSMPA). This spatial protection is an ecosystem-based management approach calling for ecologically sustainable use of marine resources, as well as protection of many vulnerable and endangered species. The zoning of the Coral Sea Marine Reserve will drastically limit human use, most notably prohibiting fishing in the majority of the area. Extensive research has been done on the ecological and cultural values of the Coral Sea and therefore why it should be protected, yet it is also necessary to understand the environmental and social implications that the creation the marine reserve will have in order to determine if it is the best management option. In order to investigate these impacts, intensive interviews were conducted with ten individuals across five different stakeholder groups. It was found that, while the Reserve is not perfect, it does protect large portions of marine biodiversity and achieves its international and national obligations.


Environmental Health and Protection | Environmental Policy | Natural Resources and Conservation | Natural Resources Management and Policy | Sustainability


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