New report calls for protection for over 40% of Antarctica’s Southern Ocean

Posted on 22 May 2012   |  
Humpback whale, Wilhelmina Bay, western Antarctic Peninsula. December 2010.
Humpback whale, Wilhelmina Bay, western Antarctic Peninsula. December 2010.
© Michael Harte
Antarctic waters are some of the most intact environments left on earth yet they remain under threat and unprotected, a new report released globally overnight from the Antarctic Ocean Alliance states.

The report, 'Antarctic Ocean Legacy: A Vision for Circumpolar Protection’, says climate change, ocean acidification, pollution, and increased commercial activity from tourism and fishing are threatening to unravel this intricate ecosystem.

The AOA’s research has identified over 40 percent of the Southern Ocean that warrants increased protection in a network of Marine Protected Areas.

WWF‘s Antarctic and Southern Ocean spokesperson Dr Michael Harte said the conservation organisation fully supported the AOA’s call for increased protection.

“The world has an unprecedented opportunity to create a legacy for future generations through new Marine Protected Areas to Australia’s south,” Dr Harte said

“This report unveils a new vision for the creation of the world’s largest network of Marine Protected Areas and no-take marine reserves around the Antarctic.

“While Antarctic waters make up almost 10 percent of the world’s seas, less than one percent is fully protected.

Dr Harte said the AOA is campaigning for the regulatory body, the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, to adopt its ambitious plan for marine protection.

“To achieve these critical, visionary goals, the world needs visionary leadership,” Dr Harte said.

“The CCAMLR needs to take bold action and adopt this plan to ensure this unique marine environment remains intact.”

Australia is a signatory to the CCAMLR, which has its headquarters in Hobart, Tasmania.

WWF is part of the Antarctic Ocean Alliance along with the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition, Blue Marine Foundation, Greenpeace, International Program for the State of the Ocean, the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society and other environmental organizations.

WWF-Australia contacts:

Hamish Wyatt
Communications Officer
02 8202 1216, 0414 544 911,


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