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At 180,000km2, the Prince Edward Islands region will become one of the biggest Marine Protected Areas in the world. It's an environmental achievement of global importance, which will help protect a suite of spectacular wildlife.

WWF's director general, Jim Leape, says: "South Africa has made a globally significant commitment to our oceans.

"South Africa plays a key role - along with countries such as Australia, France, UK and New Zealand - in protecting the amazing biodiversity and commercially important fisheries of the sub-Antarctic."

Located almost 2000km south of Cape Town, in the Southern Ocean, the islands are home to:

     · 450,000 King penguins (and two other penguin species)
     · 33% of the world's sub-Antarctic Fur Seals (and two other types of seal)
     · 44% of all Wandering Albatrosses (and four more kinds of albatross)
     · 14 species of petrel

The islands have been threatened by illegal and irresponsible fishing practices in the past - for instance vessels targeting Patagonian toothfish have often killed albatross as bycatch.

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