Marine Reserve Preserves Ocean Biodiversity
The French government has expanded the Réserve Naturelle Nationale des Terres Australes Françaises, a highly protected marine reserve in French-controlled, sub-Antarctic waters of the southern Indian Ocean, from about 8,000 to more than 46,000 square miles; it now includes seven areas surrounding the islands of Crozet and Kerguelen. France intends to designate 10 percent of its oceanic territory by 2020, and this action brings the total as of the end of 2016 to 1.3 percent.
These large-scale, fully protected marine reserves may serve as climate refuges for many species. The rich biodiversity of the new addition includes marine mammals, fish, seabirds, orcas, penguins, Antarctic fur seals and the critically endangered Amsterdam albatross.
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This article appears in the May 2017 issue of Natural Awakenings.