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24 Countries, EU Agree to Create Antarctica Marine Reserve


FILE - Most visitors arrive to Antarctica arrive on the Antarctic Peninsula, including the beach at Bahia Almirantazgo, where boats sit, Jan. 27, 2015. The next most popular destination is the Ross Sea on the opposite side of the continent.

New Zealand officials say the countries that decide the fate of Antarctica have agreed to create a huge marine reserve there.

New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully said the nations have agreed to a U.S. and New Zealand proposal to protect an area more than twice the size of Texas in the Ross Sea. He said it will be the world’s largest marine protected area.

The 24 countries and the European Union have been meeting in Australia this week. The U.S. and New Zealand have been pushing for a marine reserve for years, but such decisions require a consensus. Russia has been a holdout in the past.

McCully said the marine protected area would cover 1.6 million square kilometers (0.62 million square miles), of which three-quarters would be a no-fishing zone.