Antarctic Ocean Alliance calls on CCAMLR Delegates to seize opportunity for unprecedented marine protection

Posted on 23 October 2012  | 
Humpback whale, Wilhelmina Bay, western Antarctic Peninsula. December 2010.
Humpback whale, Wilhelmina Bay, western Antarctic Peninsula. December 2010.
© Michael Harte Enlarge
HOBART, 23 October 2012 – The Antarctic Ocean Alliance (AOA) called on Members of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) to seize the opportunity to establish unprecedented marine protection in the Southern Ocean as its two-week meeting begins today in Hobart, Tasmania.

CCAMLR, made up of 24 countries and the European Union, will be considering proposals for two critical areas in the Southern Ocean at their meeting
(1) Protection for the Ross Sea region via two different proposals from the United States and New Zealand, the most intact ocean ecosystem left on earth;
(2) Protection for 1.9 million square kilometres of coastal area in the East Antarctic via a proposal from Australia, France and the European Union.

Bilateral and multilateral international negotiations have been underway for months.

“There is hope that large-scale East Antarctic protection may get support and we strongly encourage CCAMLR to show real leadership to ensure that happens,” said AOA Campaign Director Steve Campbell from Hobart. “The unique Ross Sea region faces political challenges, but we sincerely hope that the US and NZ will resolve their differences and agree a joint proposal that would protect the most important habitats there.”

Last week, the AOA launched its report “Antarctic Ocean Legacy: Protection for the East Antarctic Coastal Region”, that supports a proposal from Australia, France and the EU for East Antarctic marine protection but also calls for additional important areas to be included in future, such as the Prydz Gyre, the Cosmonaut Polynya, and the East India seamounts.

“Earlier this year, the AOA’s Ross Sea report called for 3.6 million square kilometres in this magnificent region to be fully protected,” Campbell said. “We now call on all members to set aside short-term economic interests and support these conservation measures in Antarctica’s waters as this is likely our last chance to protect this near-pristine ocean region.”

“There is huge support from people around the world for their nations to grasp this opportunity and protect this near-pristine ocean region this year, while we still can,” he said. “Protecting the East Antarctic coastal region, Ross Sea and the retreating ice-shelves would be a great start to show that, in fact, it can and should be done for the benefit of all of the world.”

Contact:
Blair Palese, AOA Communications Director: +0414 659 511, blair@antarcticocean.org.
www.antarcticocean.org, Twitter: #JointheWatch, #Antarcticocean, Facebook
Humpback whale, Wilhelmina Bay, western Antarctic Peninsula. December 2010.
Humpback whale, Wilhelmina Bay, western Antarctic Peninsula. December 2010.
© Michael Harte Enlarge

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