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Minister Needs To Step In To Protect Ross Sea

1 November 2011

Minister Needs To Step In To Protect Ross Sea

The Green Party is calling on Foreign Minister Murray McCully to convene a Ministerial level meeting on protecting the Ross Sea, after reports suggesting that CCAMLR delegates will fail to reach a resolution at their meeting in Hobart today.

“It is crucial that we don’t let the opportunity to protect this pristine marine environment go as this could set back the negotiation process by 10 years or more,” Green Party oceans spokesperson Gareth Hughes said today.

“Rather than leaving it up to officials, Foreign Minister Murray McCully needs to get involved in talks with other foreign ministers to push for a positive outcome.

“McCully has indicated all along that he wants New Zealand to work with the US in creating a proposal for marine protection in the Ross Sea. He can now show leadership by stepping up diplomatic efforts to ensure a better outcome from the next Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) meeting in 12 months’ time.

“New Zealand has been planning towards a proposal for a Marine Protected Area in the Ross Sea since 2009 and had successfully negotiated a joint proposal with the US.

“Reports that large fishing nations such as Russia and China have blocked this proposal is disappointing to say the least.

“With reports suggesting that these negotiations have failed, there is now a need for direct ministerial engagement to ensure an agreement is reached.

“Many New Zealanders, not to mention millions around the world, were watching these negotiations at CCAMLR and hoping for Ross Sea protection.

“We cannot give up hope of protecting an area that holds huge significance to New Zealand. It is time for the Government to show leadership on protecting the Ross Sea.

“New Zealand has played a key role in protecting continental Antarctica in the past and now can play a role in protecting its waters if we undertake high-level diplomatic efforts,” said Mr Hughes.

ENDS

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