Cook Islands launches the world’s largest multi-use marine park

Maritime Cook Islands (MCI) commits its support to the Marae Moana Act which has been passed by the Cook Islands Parliament and sees the establishment in the Cook Islands of the world’s largest multi-use marine park. The Parliament of the Cook Islands has formally established Marae Moana advocating protection and conservation of the marine environment, and ocean surrounding the Cook Islands.

Spanning a total ocean area of nearly 2m km2, the marine park is established over the entire Cook Islands Exclusive Economic Zone, with marine protected areas around every island where no longline, purse seine fishing, or seabed minerals activities are permitted, as a precautionary measure to protect biodiversity including whales, dolphins, sharks, turtles and seabirds. Exclusion zones extending 50 nautical miles from every island are specially reserved for the enjoyment of the local people of each island.

The passing of the ocean-saving legislation resonates with the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Goal 14: Conserve and Sustainably Use the Oceans, Seas and Marine Resources, which is also part of the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) goals for the shipping industry.

The idea of a marine park was first conceived and presented to the Cook Islands cabinet by Kevin Iro, a board member of the Cook Islands Tourism Corporation, who has recently been appointed as an ambassador of Marae Moana.

Commenting on the establishment of Marae Moana, MCI CEO Glenn Armstrong said today: “For Cook Islands, a country with land area of only 237 km2, this is a remarkably significant commitment to integrate ocean conservation management – especially knowing that the Act entered into force with bipartisan approval.

“Moving forward, MCI will work closely with the Marae Moana coordinators towards ensuring vessels entering within and beyond the marine park’s boundaries comply and respect the sanctity of the Marae Moana Act.”

The Marae Moana Act was passed on 11th July 2017. For more information about the Act, please click on