Heard Island: now world’s largest marine reserve

The Australian Government has proclaimed the world’s largest fully protected marine reserve in Australia’s remote subantarctic waters.

The new 6.5 million hectare Heard Island and McDonald Islands Marine Reserve is 4500 kilometres south-west of the Australian mainland and 1000 kilometres North of Antarctica. It falls within Australia’s 200 mile Exclusive Economic Zone surrounding Heard and McDonald Islands. Heard and McDonald Islands was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1997 for its outstanding natural universal values

The new park surpasses another Australian marine reserve, the 5.8 million hectare Macquarie Island reserve, as the world’s largest.

In making the announcement, Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, said the declaration would protect the conservation values of the region and provide an effective conservation framework to manage the region in an integrated and ecologically sustainable manner.