KIRIBATI POISED TO DECLARE PHOENIX ISLES PROTECTED

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Jan. 29, 2008) – Kiribati is today expected to declare the Phoenix Islands as the world’s largest protected area.

[PIR editor’s note: The Phoenix Islands are a group of eight mostly uninhabited atolls, plus two submerged coral reefs in the central Pacific north of Tokelau. Part of Kiribati, the islands and surrounding areas are home to some 120 species of coral and more than 500 species of fish. ]

The proposed protection zone is 185,000 square kilometers and once declared a protected area it would be out of bounds for commercial fishing.

Two years ago, Kiribati told a United Nations conference in Brazil that it would turn the area into a national park

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