The Kerguelen archipelago, September 5, 2012SOPHIE LAUTIER
The French government wants to once again extend the French Southern and Antarctic Territories National Nature Reserve (TAAF), created in 2006 in the southern Indian Ocean, the Ministry of Overseas Territories announced on Tuesday.
This project received at the end of September a favorable opinion “unanimously, with reservations” from a commission of the National Council for the protection of nature. It was opened for public consultation on Monday for three weeks, the ministry said in a statement.
After a first extension at the end of 2016, the TAAF nature reserve “currently covers an area of 7,700 km² of land area and 665,310 km² of maritime area, in the waters of Crozet, Kerguelen, Saint-Paul and Amsterdam”.
The second extension should cover “all of the exclusive economic zones of Crozet, Saint-Paul and Amsterdam and Kerguelen”, “of exceptional ecological richness”, details the ministry.
It “will mark France’s determination to ensure the conservation of these jewels of the Indian Ocean and to promote this model of managing our resources with our neighboring states in this region of the world,” said the Minister of Overseas Sébastien Lecornu, quoted in the statement.
This reserve has the population of seabirds “the largest in the world and the most diverse and abundant populations of marine mammals in the Indian part of the Southern Ocean”, according to the French authorities.
The government aims “for a final adoption of the decree in early 2022”.