New Zealand is creating one of the world's largest fully protected ocean sanctuaries, twice the size of the nation itself, the country's prime minister announced on Monday.
"This is an area twice the size of our land mass and 50 times the size of our largest national park. It is truly a special place and we want to keep it that way," Prime Minister John Key said at a United Nations summit on Monday.
The 240,000-square-mile ocean sanctuary is in the Kermadec region, to the northeast of New Zealand.
The area is 35 times larger than the country's existing marine reserves and includes the world's longest chain of submerged volcanoes and the second deepest ocean trench, the New Zealand government said.