The proposals for two large Marine Protected Regions (US-New Zealand proposed one area of 1.25 million square kilometers which would cover much of the Ross Sea and the second area proposed by Australia, France and the European Union included several other smaller protected areas in the seas around East Antarctica which totaled 1.9 million square kilometers) were presented by the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) meeting in Hobart, which brought together 24 countries and the European Union.
This was the third attempt to create two vast ocean sanctuaries in Antarctica to protect the natural wilderness but failed Friday after 10 days of talks ended with no agreement. The regions related that were off the coast of Antarctica have an ocean wilderness Environmentalists say to home 16,000 known species, including whales, seals, albatrosses, penguins and unique species of fish.
“The international community came together in Hobart to protect key parts of the Antarctic Ocean — one of the last pristine environments in the world — yet Russia chose to stand in the way,” said Joshua Reichert, executive vice president of US-based Pew Charitable Trusts, which had a delegate inside the talks.” -YahooNews
Russia and Ukraine were the main advocators in questioning the legality of the mandate to create “Marine Protection Areas” challenging the proposal, and stood to not support the proposal. Since the CCAMLR requires all members to agree on new rules, the proposal was left unexecuted.
At the moment just 1% of the world’s oceans is protected, with the result that most of the world’s fishing grounds have been significantly depleted. Countries have committed by global agreement to protect 10% of the world’s oceans by 2020, but the creation of the marine protection areas in Antarctica is proving tortuous because it depends on the complex geopolitical interests of the 24 countries, including Britain, the US, Russia, China, Argentina and Chile, all of which have political or financial interest in the waters and the landmass. Russia, Ukraine, Norway and China could yet scupper the conservation plans.
- Delegates frustrated as talks to create huge Antarctic marine reserves fail (theguardian.com)
- Russia, China blamed for failure of plan to create Antarctic marine reserves (abc.net.au)