Stronger protection needed to save Antarctica´s marine diversity | WWF

Stronger protection needed to save Antarctica´s marine diversity

Posted on 22 May 2012    
Iceberg, Antarctic Ocean
© Wim van Passel / WWF
Gland, Switzerland: WWF, as part of the Antarctic Ocean Alliance, unveiled a new vision for the creation of the world`s largest marine protected area across Antarctic marine habitats on International Day for Biological Diversity, 2012.

The new report 'Antarctic Ocean Legacy: A Vision for Circumpolar Protection' calls on governments to support increased marine protection for this unique and valuable environment.

Antarctic waters make up almost 10 per cent of the world’s seas and are some of the most intact environments left on earth. They are home to almost 10,000 diverse species such as penguins, seals and whales, yet they are under increasing pressure.

Growing demand for seafood means greater interest in the Antarctic Ocean from commercial fishing interests and climate change is affecting the abundance of important food sources for marine species.

The report identified that over 40 per cent of the Southern Ocean warrants protection and is calling on the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), to protect this area urgently while it remains largely intact. CCAMLR has agreed to create a network of marine protected areas around Antarctica this year and next.

“The world must act now to conserve our diverse marine environment before it is too late.” said John Tanzer, Global Marine Director, WWF International. “The oceans need all the support governments and bodies such as CCAMLR can give in this era of increasing threats”.

To further stress the importance of stronger protection beyond national boundaries in the Antarctic, Arctic and Sargasso Sea, a digital map was also released by WWF today. This map gives you the opportunity to take a voyage on the high seas and experience these little explored areas of the world.

The Antarctic Ocean Alliance includes the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition, Blue Marine Foundation, Greenpeace, International Program for the State of the Ocean, WWF, the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society and other environmental organizations which are working together to establish a network of Marine Protected Areas and no-take Marine Reserves in the Southern Ocean around Antarctica.

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