The Coral Sea is a marginal sea off the northeast coast of Australia that has been designated a Hope Spot by Mission Blue. Named for its staggering number of corals, this area includes the Great Barrier Reef and is one of the most diverse marine habitats on Earth. Spectacular coral reefs, remote islands and towering underwater mountains along with deep-sea canyons add to the diversity and uniqueness of this area. Pew Environment Group has also designated this area as part of its Global Ocean Legacy project, a worldwide system of large, highly protected marine reserves where fishing and other extractive activities would be prohibited.
The Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Reserve was proposed in 2011 by the Australian government. Covering 989,842 km2, it would extend from the eastward boundary of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park to the edge of the Australian EEZ, where it would border the waters of Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and New Caledonia. This remote area contains a unique array of coral reef habitats, along with sand cays that support nesting sites for the green sea turtle and several seabird species. The coral reefs in this region support several large predatory fish species such as tuna, swordfish, marlin, and sharks. The new Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Reserve will be a multiple-use MPA with a 507,487 km2 no-take zone, along with other areas where sustainable use of natural resources is allowed.