The Cook Islands, an archipelago located in the South Pacific Ocean, have decided to create the world largest protected sanctuary: 1.9 million square kilometers !
Kevin Iro, an environmental activist and former New Zealand rugby player, launched the idea five years ago, and the local parliament has just validated the proposal. For Cook Islands Prime Minister Henry Puna, the objective of this project is to make his country the greenest destination on the planet by preserving the paradisiacal scenery of the islands: “We had together the vision of making our Small country the greenest tourist destination in the world. Not only do we recognize that we benefit from the ocean in terms of fishing, tourism and seabed richness, but it also brings us clean air, clean water and food”.
Of these 1.9 square kilometers, 320 000 will be closed to fishing and mining activities. The rest of the area will not be subject to these prohibitions, but the beauty of the area has to be respected. This sanctuary nearly the size of Mexico is named “Marae Moana”. Let’s hope that other countries will follow this example, and other “Marae Moana” soon bloom around the world.