NZ creates an ocean sanctuary

A fully protected ocean sanctuary is being created by New Zealand called the Kermadec Sanctuary. Its Prime Minister John Key made the announcement at a UN convention on Monday 28th of September, 2015 quoting ‘This is an area twice the size of our land mass and 50 times the size of our largest national park.’ Located north-east of New Zealand, it will be 35 times larger than existing marine reserves while also containing the world’s longest chain of underwater volcanoes. The Kermadec Sanctuary protects against any and all activities including mining, drilling and laying underwater cables. This is hoped to protect all wildlife species especially as a breeding ground for seabirds, whales and dolphins while it is also home to several species of endangered sea turtles.

Interestingly, the positive move has also come under criticism because it has not been supported by other pro-environment stances. New Zealand’s climate change policy aims to reduce carbon emissions by 11% by 2030 from 1990 levels although other nations are aiming for 30 to 40%. Australia has aimed for a 28% reduction on 2005 levels. Greenpeace’s executive Director Bunny McDiarmid stated “Oceans will not be protected by it by calling it an ocean sanctuary. If the government is serious about these areas, they need a really strong climate plan and they don’t have it.” Rising sea and ocean temperatures endanger wildlife and eventually local industry.