<p><strong>Fish swarm a shipwreck in <a href="http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/countries/australia-guide/?source=newstravel_travel">Australian</a> waters of the Coral Sea, which is <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/nov/25/australia-plans-worlds-biggest-marine-park?newsfeed=true">set to become the site of the world's largest marine reserve</a>, the Australian government announced Friday. (Related: <a href="http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/top-10/water-wonders/?source=newstravel_travel">"Top Ten Watery Wonders."</a>)</strong></p><p>East of the <a href="http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/world-heritage/great-barrier-reef/?source=newstravel_travel">Great Barrier Reef (pictures)</a>, the proposed Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Reserve would cover about 385,000 square miles (just under a million square kilometers)—bigger than France and Germany combined.</p><p>The park would encompass remote <a href="http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/invertebrates/coral/?source=newstravel_animals">coral</a> reefs, ancient sponge gardens, deep-sea canyons, and submerged <a href="http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/natural-disasters/volcano-profile/?source=newstravel_environment">volcanoes</a> in the Coral Sea-among the last places where <a href="http://ocean.nationalgeographic.com/ocean/?source=newstravel_ocean">ocean</a> giants like <a href="http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/sharks/?source=newstravel_animals">sharks</a>, <a href="http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/fish/bluefin-tuna/?source=newstravel_animals">tuna</a>, and billfishes can be seen in large numbers.</p><p>"The Coral Sea harbors high biodiversity and relatively healthy ecosystems," said <a href="http://www.nationalgeographic.com/field/explorers/enric-sala/?source=newstravel_field">National Geographic Society Explorer-in-Residence Enric Sala</a> by email. "This makes the Coral Sea a unique large <a href="http://education.nationalgeographic.com/education/encyclopedia/ecosystem/?source=newstravel_education">ecosystem</a> with an irreplaceable value globally."</p><p>(The Society owns National Geographic News.)</p><p><em>—Helen Scales</em></p>

Marine Life

Fish swarm a shipwreck in Australian waters of the Coral Sea, which is set to become the site of the world's largest marine reserve, the Australian government announced Friday. (Related: "Top Ten Watery Wonders.")

East of the Great Barrier Reef (pictures), the proposed Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Reserve would cover about 385,000 square miles (just under a million square kilometers)—bigger than France and Germany combined.

The park would encompass remote coral reefs, ancient sponge gardens, deep-sea canyons, and submerged volcanoes in the Coral Sea-among the last places where ocean giants like sharks, tuna, and billfishes can be seen in large numbers.

"The Coral Sea harbors high biodiversity and relatively healthy ecosystems," said National Geographic Society Explorer-in-Residence Enric Sala by email. "This makes the Coral Sea a unique large ecosystem with an irreplaceable value globally."

(The Society owns National Geographic News.)

—Helen Scales

Photograph by David Doubilet, National Geographic

Pictures: World's Largest Marine Reserve Announced

See the ocean wonders of the Coral Sea, where Australia plans to establish a marine park bigger than Germany and France combined.

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