By Flora Zigterman

Posted Mon Oct 25, 2010 8:32am AEDT

Green groups say new research shows the need to have the Coral Sea declared a protected marine park.

A study by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature has found the Coral Sea is home to 42 per cent of the world’s endangered and vulnerable coral species.

The Federal Government is considering forming a one million square kilometre marine park encompassing the Coral Sea, with controls on fishing and likely ‘no-take’ fishing-free zones.

Nicola Temple from the Marine Conservation Society says action is needed immediately.

“We’re so used to reacting to immediate threats, to an oil spill or a change in fishing practices that feels so immediately urgent, but this is an opportunity to act now to safeguard what’s already there,” she said.

She says the new research shows only 1 per cent of the Coral Sea is protected.

“We are of course advocating for a very large and fully protected world class marine park in the Coral Seas because it simply would be an unprecedented contribution to marine conservation,” she said.