Antarctic Ocean Legacy: Protection for the East Antarctic Coastal Region

Posted on 18 October 2012  | 
Antarctic Ocean Legacy: Protection for the East Antarctic Coastal Region
Antarctic Ocean Legacy: Protection for the East Antarctic Coastal Region
© WWF-Australia Enlarge
In October 2011, the Antarctic Ocean Alliance (AOA) proposed the creation of a network of marine protected areas (MPAs) and no-take marine reserves in 19 specific areas in the Southern Ocean around Antarctica.
This report, Antarctic Ocean Legacy: Protection for the East Antarctic Coastal Region, outlines a vision for
marine protection in the East Antarctic, one of the key regions previously identified by the AOA.

Currently, only approximately 1% of the world’s oceans are protected from human interference, yet international agreements on marine protection suggest that this number should be far higher.

The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), the body that manages the marine living resources of the Southern Ocean (with the exception of whales and seals), has set a target date of 2012 for establishing the initial areas in a network of Antarctic MPAs.

One of the key places for which the AOA seeks protection is the East Antarctic coastal region. This remote area, while vastly understudied, is home to a significant proportion of the Southern Ocean’s penguins seals and whales.

The East Antarctic coastal region also contains large seafloor and oceanographic features found nowhere else on the planet. The AOA offers this report to assist in designating marine reserves and marine protected areas in the East Antarctic coastal region. This is the third in a series of “Antarctic Ocean Legacy” proposals from the AOA.

This report describes the geography, oceanography and ecology of this area. The AOA acknowledges the scientists and governments that have studied the region and welcomes and supports the proposal that has been submitted for marine protection in the East Antarctic by Australia and France.

The AOA proposes that in addition to the seven areas referenced by Australia and France, four additional areas also be considered for protection in the coming years. A network MPAs and fully protected marine reserves encompassing these additional areas and those proposed by Australia and France would span approximately 2,550,000 square kilometres.
Antarctic Ocean Legacy: Protection for the East Antarctic Coastal Region
Antarctic Ocean Legacy: Protection for the East Antarctic Coastal Region
© WWF-Australia Enlarge

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