world's largest marine park created assisting protection of antarctic marine ecosystems
28th October - Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, Hobart
Humane Society International (HSI) has commended a landmark agreement at the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) in Hobart, which will see the creation of a marine park in the Southern Ocean Antarctic waters. The area is now set to become the world’s largest Marine Protected Area (MPA).
Member countries of CCAMLR agreed earlier today to protect 1.5million km2 of the Ross Sea, which is known as one of the most biologically diverse and untouched marine ecosystems in the world, for conservation including:
• 1,117,000 km2 of fully protected marine reserve;
• a 110,000 km2 special research zone (SRZ) allowing for limited research fishing for krill and toothfish, and;
• a 322,000 km2 krill research zone (KRZ) allowing for controlled research fishing for krill.
Alistair Graham, HSI’s Biodiversity and Climate Change Advisor said today, “The Ross Sea is one of the last vestiges of pristine marine areas in the world. Species found within the area include one third of all Antarctic petrels, over half of all South Pacific Weddell seals, one third of the world’s Adélie penguins, and a quarter of all emperor penguins. The agreement set today will be a turning point for the species of the Antarctic and Southern Oceans, and this decision could not have come soon enough.”
“HSI have been working toward this agreement for some time, and we have been pushing for a permanent conservation and management resolution for the Ross Sea. We do have concerns however, as this agreement is not in perpetuity, and will expire in 35 years. We will continue to urge member countries of CCAMLR to ensure this remarkable area becomes permanently protected, along with other sections in the Southern Ocean including East Antarctica and the Weddell Sea.
“Species such as krill are very significant for ecosystem function, and the majority of the population are found in the Southern Ocean. We need to ensure the protection of this species through marine park areas and increased research, due to the susceptibility of the species to climate change and increasing interest from fishers for krill. We are hopeful that today’s achievement will assist in shifting momentum toward building the resilience of the world’s oceans, something that is integral to ecosystem health in the face of climate change.
“HSI commends the countries involved for their decision to list the area, and will continue to work with them to ensure the Ross Sea, and other sections of our oceans are protected forever,” Mr Graham concluded.