Posted at 09:33 on 29 August, 2012 UTC
A marine sanctuary roughly half the size of India will be created in French Polynesia as part of a recently announced plan by New Caledonia’s Government.
The protected area will cover 1.4 million square kilometres and will make New Caledonia the first Melanesian country to contribute towards the Pacific Oceanscape, an international conservation mission tackling declining fish stocks.
Similar protected areas exist in Kiribati, the Cook Islands and Australia.
New Caledonia’s announcement is the first contribution of the 16 member countries of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, which is currently being held in Rarotonga.
Other Forum members are expected to make further commitments to the Pacific Oceanscape during the coming week.
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