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Cry for Antarctic marine protection in final week of CCAMLR

AOA and descendant of Ross Sea explorer highlight global outcry for Antarctic marine protection in final week of CCAMLR

HOBART, 29 October 2012 – At a lunch for Delegates of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) today, the Antarctic Ocean Alliance (AOA) highlighted the global outcry for protection of key habitats in East Antarctica and the Ross Sea, supported by a descendant of the man who discovered and explored the Ross Sea, Sir James Clark Ross.

The final week of CCAMLR’s annual meeting begins today with Delegates considering proposals for Southern Ocean protection. Made up of 24 countries and the European Union, CCAMLR has important decisions before it to live up to expectations globally that real Antarctic marine protection can be achieved.

“Nearly 1.2 million people around the world have signed up to call for real protection for the Southern Ocean and all eyes are on the outcomes CCAMLR reaches this week,” said AOA Campaign Director Steve Campbell from Hobart. “We are here today to speak on behalf of the voiceless and ask member countries to put aside their differences and vested interests and take this historical opportunity for ocean protection.”

The guest speaker at the AOA lunch for Delegates was Philippa Ross, the great, great, great granddaughter of Sir James Clark Ross. She spoke on behalf of the entire Ross family in calling for CCAMLR Delegates to show real leadership and leave a unique Southern Ocean legacy.

“As guardians of life in the Southern Ocean, I believe this is CCAMLR’s chance to create an enduring legacy,” Ms. Ross said. “Draw on your integrity, invest in the future and choose a marine protected area for the Ross Sea and circumpolar protection for the surrounding ocean of the Antarctic.”

CCAMLR, made up of 24 countries and the European Union, are in the second week of their two week meeting and are considering proposals for two critical areas in the Southern Ocean at their meeting:

(1) Protection for the Ross Sea, the most intact ocean ecosystem left on earth, via two different proposals from the United States and New Zealand,;

(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.

The remote East Antarctic coastal region is home to a significant number of the Southern Ocean’s penguins, seals and whales. It also contains rare and unusual seafloor and oceanographic features, which support high biodiversity. The amazing Ross Sea is a unique habitat that includes the long-lived Antarctic toothfish, currently being fished by vessels from New Zealand, Korea the UK, Russia and Spain.

The AOA’s research has identified over 40% of the Southern Ocean that warrants protection in a network of large-scale marine reserves and MPAs, based on the combination of existing marine protected areas, areas identified within previous conservation and planning analyses and including additional key environmental habitats.

Antarctic marine ecosystems are under increasing pressure. Growing demand for seafood means greater interest in the Southern Ocean’s resources, while climate change is affecting the abundance of important food sources for penguins, whales, seals and birds.


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