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‘CORAL TRIANGLE’ COUNTRIES TO PROTECT SPECIES PNG, Solomons among nations to sign agreement

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Oct. 22, 2008) – Senior officials from six Asia-Pacific nations, whose territories include some unique and threatened marine species in the world, are about to sign a comprehensive draft plan to protect these natural treasures.

The six countries - Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Solomon Islands and East Timor - make up the Coral Triangle.

Tomorrow they are expected to finalise the Coral Reefs, Fisheries, and Food Securities Plan of Action at a meeting in Manila.

The Coral Triangle, dubbed the Amazon of the Seas, covers a 5.7 million square kilometres of ocean, with 75 percent of all known coral species in the world.

This region is facing a threat from climate change, which many scientists believe is causing seawater temperatures to rise, bleaching and killing off reefs.

Harmful fishing practices have also caused serious damage.

The plan focuses on a series of steps to protect and sustain marine life in the area.

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