Australia to help protect New Caledonian reef

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Australia has agreed to help New Caledonia protect its massive coral reef, the world’s second largest after Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef.

The agreement was made during a visit to Canberra by New Caledonia’s President and other delegates, who held wide ranging talks with Australia’s Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and other ministers.

New Caledonia wants to tap Australian know-how to maintain its reef, which surrounds the country’s main island and is listed as a world heritage site.

France’s High Commissioner to New Caledonia, Yves Dassonville, spoke to reporters in Canberra ahead of a meeting with Australia’s Environment Minister Peter Garrett.

The High Commissioner says New Caledonia wants to exchange scientific information and undertake joint research, and to jointly manage the Australian and French economic zones which extend across the Pacific from the huge reefs on either side.

The initiative is part of New Caledonia’s push for closer ties with its neighbours.

Source: Australian Network News