Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

August 23, 2017

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Australia’s water works

Australia is about to take a pretty respectable title away from the Chagos Archipelago. The Indian Ocean islands (just south of the Maldives) are surrounded by a 545,000-square-kilometre area that’s currently the world’s largest marine reserve: “currently” being the operative word. In June, the folks Down Under announced a plan to create a network of marine reserves almost six times that size at 3.1-million-square-kilometres. It’ll see Australia’s reserves increase from 27 to 60 and will stretch across more than a third of the country’s waters. What’s more, the Coral Sea off the northeast coast and the adjoining UNESCO World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef will be included. Fishing, and gas and oil exploration will of course be limited and the government is expected to pay $100 million to the fishing industry in compensation for the new restrictions expected to take effect later this year. But some activists aren’t satisfied; they say that the plan leaves Australia’s north-western coast vulnerable to an already established offshore gas and oil industry. For details: environment.gov.au/coasts/mbp/reserves/index.html.

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