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PM touts proposed marine park, gains international support

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Dec. 21, 2011) – The Cook Islands Prime Minister, Henry Puna, has called for marine protection and conservation on a mass scale.

At the Eye on the Earth environment summit in Abu Dhabi, Mr. Puna spoke of his government’s commitment to establishing a one million square kilometer marine park within the Cook Islands exclusive economic zone.

And he challenged other delegates to take responsibility as the stewards of the world’s oceans.

[PIR editor’s note: The exclusive economic zone of the Cook Islands spans more than two million square kilometers, half of which will be used as dedicated conservation area for marine life. The reserve area is part of a larger move by Pacific Island nations, following after Kiribati President Anote Tong, towards the Pacific Oceanscape project, which will encompass 38.5 million square kilometers of ocean.]

That challenge drew an immediate response, with Jack Dangermond, the founder and president of Environmental Systems Research Institute, pledging to help build a database for the Cook Islands marine park.

The company’s directors say they are proud to be able to make a commitment to the protection of a very special part of the planet, and to provide the technical support.

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