New Zealand is planning to create one of the world's largest protected ocean zones in the world, with plans to make the area of the sanctuary 620,000 square km (239 miles), according to The Guardian. The sanctuary will be located in the South Pacific Ocean, approximately 62 miles northeast of New Zealand and will include a marine reserve that possesses a handful of small islands.
"The Kermadec Ocean sanctuary will be one of the world's largest and most significant fully-protected areas, preserving important habitats for seabirds, whales and dolphins, endangered marine turtles and thousands of species of fish and other marine life," said New Zealand Prime Minister John Key. "New Zealanders value our coasts and oceans which are an important part of our culture, economy and environment and we are committed to managing them sustainably."
The decision comes as a surprise and will lead to a fishing ban in the area, meaning fisherman who are affected will likely demand compensation, according to The Wall Street Journal.
"With no forewarning from government the industry needs time to consider the full implications," said George Clement, Seafood New Zealand chairman.
Given the size of the area, policing for illegal fishing will likely need to take advantage of drones and mapping technology.
Despite these issues, environmentalists are applauding the decision due to the fact that many new species are regularly discovered in the area, according to RT.