Rapa Nui plan massive marine reserve

Chile is planning to create a massive marine reserve to protect the fish stocks of Easter Island.

The Guardian reports that encompassing 447,000 square kilometres of ocean, the reserve would be the world's biggest, if created before another one proposed by the UK around the Pitcairn Islands, the nearest land over two-thousand kilometres west.

The idea to create the reserve around Easter Island stems from concerns within the local Rapa Nui community about the impact of large-scale illegal fishing in their waters.

Under the plan proposed by the three thousand Rapa Nui on the island, the reserve would allow only islanders to fish 80 kilometres out to sea and through a corridor to Sala y Gómez, tiny inhabited islands to the east.

For everyone else, fishing anywhere 320 kilometres from the two would be banned, with the threat of action by the Chilean navy as a deterrent.

Elements of Chile's national government are supportive of the reserve, plans for which are set to be unveiled early next month.