Last chance for Ross Sea and East Antarctica protection



Posted on 24 October 2013  | 
Coastal landscape with vegetation and ice, Antarctica
© Wim van Passel / WWF-CanonEnlarge
Hobart, Australia: WWF, as part of the Antarctic Ocean Alliance (AOA), is calling on the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) to step up to its conservation commitments and agree to lasting and significant Southern Ocean protection.

At a meeting in Hobart, Australia the commission will be discussing the designation of marine protected areas in the Ross Sea and East Antarctic.

A joint United States-New Zealand government proposal to protect over two million km2 of the Ross Sea was put forward last year but did not gain full support. The AOA originally recommended full protection of 3.6 million km2 in the Ross Sea, often referred to as “The Last Ocean” as it is one of the most pristine oceans left on earth. But a new proposal was announced prior to the Hobart meeting with a reduction in size bringing it down to 1.32 million km2.

A second proposal from the Australian government, France and the European Union for East Antarctic protection is also on the table to protect 1.6 million km2 designated as multiple use, in which future fishing activities would have to be approved by consensus.

"CCAMLR prides itself on a comprehensive approach to its conservation of marine life in the Southern Ocean,” said Bob Zuur, manager of WWF’s Antarctic program. “This meeting provides CCAMLR an opportunity to deliver on its promise of a system of marine protected areas and show that the Convention is not just about managing fishing."

The Southern Ocean is home to more than 10,000 unique species including most of the world’s penguins, whales, seabirds, colossal squid and the commercially targeted Antarctic toothfish. The region is critical for scientific research, both for studying how intact marine ecosystems function and for determining the impacts of global climate change.

The Antarctic Ocean Alliance partners are attending the meeting in Hobart, working to ensure delegates step up to the challenge and designate the Ross Sea and East Antarctic proposals.

WWF-Australia media contact:
Daniel Rockett, National Media Manager, +61 432 206 592, drockett@wwf.org.au

Coastal landscape with vegetation and ice, Antarctica
© Wim van Passel / WWF-Canon Enlarge
Penguins hunting
© John Weller Enlarge

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