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New Zealand world-leading in protecting marine life with over 50 marine protected areas including 30 ‘no-take’ marine reserves

The first marine reserve in New Zealand was created beside the University of Auckland’s Leigh Marine Laboratory, where the new study took place. The research shows that 40% of marine protected areas are smaller than 1-2km2, an insufficient size to protect large fish and other animals, such as tuna, marlin and squid. These animals, which are of particular interest to fishermen, tend to travel large distances, spending significant time beyond protected borders and therefore can be lost to harvesting. The study recommends that each Marine Protected Area be 10-20 kilometres in diameter to protect species that need large areas of habitat, and similarly spaced to ensure genetic exchange between areas. This would be achieved by protecting 25 590 km2, or about 5%, of the world’s coral reefs.

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