Europe

Countries agree on huge marine reserve for Antarctica

  • FILE - In this Jan. 27, 2015 file photo, boats sit on the beach at Bahia Almirantazgo, in Antarctica. The countries that decide the fate of Antarctica agreed on Friday to create the world's largest marine protected area in the ocean next to the frozen continent. The agreement comes after years of diplomatic wrangling and high-level talks between the U.S. and Russia, which has rejected the idea in the past.(AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

    FILE - In this Jan. 27, 2015 file photo, boats sit on the beach at Bahia Almirantazgo, in Antarctica. The countries that decide the fate of Antarctica agreed on Friday to create the world's largest marine protected area in the ocean next to the frozen continent. The agreement comes after years of diplomatic wrangling and high-level talks between the U.S. and Russia, which has rejected the idea in the past.(AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this Jan. 25, 2015 photo, Chile's Navy ship Aquiles moves alongside the Hurd Peninsula, seen from Livingston Islands, in Antarctica. The countries that decide the fate of Antarctica agreed on Friday, Oct. 28, 2016,  to create the world's largest marine protected area in the ocean next to the frozen continent. The agreement comes after years of diplomatic wrangling and high-level talks between the U.S. and Russia, which has rejected the idea in the past.(AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

    In this Jan. 25, 2015 photo, Chile's Navy ship Aquiles moves alongside the Hurd Peninsula, seen from Livingston Islands, in Antarctica. The countries that decide the fate of Antarctica agreed on Friday, Oct. 28, 2016, to create the world's largest marine protected area in the ocean next to the frozen continent. The agreement comes after years of diplomatic wrangling and high-level talks between the U.S. and Russia, which has rejected the idea in the past.(AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this Jan. 26, 2015 photo, pieces of thawing ice are scattered along the beachshore at Punta Hanna, Livingston Island, in the Antarctica. The countries that decide the fate of Antarctica agreed on Friday to create the world's largest marine protected area in the ocean next to the frozen continent. The agreement comes after years of diplomatic wrangling and high-level talks between the U.S. and Russia, which has rejected the idea in the past.(AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

    In this Jan. 26, 2015 photo, pieces of thawing ice are scattered along the beachshore at Punta Hanna, Livingston Island, in the Antarctica. The countries that decide the fate of Antarctica agreed on Friday to create the world's largest marine protected area in the ocean next to the frozen continent. The agreement comes after years of diplomatic wrangling and high-level talks between the U.S. and Russia, which has rejected the idea in the past.(AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)  (The Associated Press)

New Zealand officials say the countries which decide the fate of Antarctica have agreed to create a huge marine reserve there.

New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully said the nations have agreed to a U.S. and New Zealand proposal to protect an area more than twice the size of Texas in the Ross Sea. He said it will be the world's largest marine protected area.

The 24 countries and the European Union have been meeting in Australia this week. The U.S. and New Zealand have been pushing for a marine reserve for years, but such decisions require a consensus. Russia has been a holdout in the past.

McCully said the marine protected area would cover 1.6 million square kilometers (0.62 million square miles), of which three-quarters would be a no-fishing zone.