France, Australia and the EU Can Lead in Protecting Antarctica and the Southern Ocean

In 2009, 24 countries and the European Union (EU) agreed to a bold plan to create a circumpolar network of marine protected areas in the Southern Ocean around Antarctica by 2012. As Members of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), they took the first step towards fulfilling that commitment by designating the Ross Sea Marine Protected Area (MPA) in 2016, which will come into force in December 2017. After years of stalled negotiations, this accomplishment was greeted with worldwide acclaim, and breathed new life into a global effort to protect the high seas.

The designation of the world’s largest MPA was a moment of true international cooperation and consensus. CCAMLR must now maintain this momentum to fulfill their commitment to a circumpolar network. There are three more proposals on the table. An EU proposal for an MPA in the Weddell Sea has been under consideration since 2016, and a proposal for an MPA in the Western Antarctic Peninsula, led by Argentina and Chile, is expected later this year. The final proposal, the East Antarctic Representative System of MPAs (EARSMPA), was proposed to CCAMLR in 2011 by Australia and the EU.

The current EARSMPA proposal covers three areas – MacRobertson, Drygalski and D’Urville-Mertz – each of which is an important foraging area for Antarctica’s populations of mammals and birds, including emperor and Adélie penguins.…

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After a winter trip to Antarctica, I want to protect it even more

By Ryan Dolan

Ryan Dolan is an officer with The Pew Charitable Trusts’ global penguin conservation campaign.


The coast of Antarctica is a breathtaking kaleidoscope of ever-shifting light and colors. In the twilight of the austral winter, for a few hours every day, the sea ice turns a fiery orange as shadow puppets trace the cracks across slow-moving waves.…

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International Conference: Antarctica Today and Tomorrow (in Paris on June 29th)

Don’t miss this unique opportunity to learn about the distant land of Antarctica.

The Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition is hosting a one-day conference in Paris on June 29th to celebrate France’s leadership in the protection of Antarctica.

Antarctica Today and Tomorrow will address the environmental challenges facing Antarctica and the Southern Ocean and discuss the opportunity posed by the creation of an East Antarctic Marine Protected Area.…

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The Antarctic tourism industry needs to speak up

Antarctic tour operators have a significant stake in keeping the Antarctic environment pristine, but they’ll need to exercise some political muscle if they want a say in Antarctica’s future. As the only continent without citizens, Antarctica needs the tourist industry to speak up for marine protection. 

By Ricardo Roura

Antarctica’s abundant wildlife, clean seas, and unfettered horizons are what makes the Antarctic experience unique.…

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What happens when it starts snowing on the world’s driest continent?

Antarctic wildlife expert Dr. Rodolfo Werner is sailing the Southern Ocean with the world’s best photographers and filmmakers…. They are on a mission to inspire the world to protect the Antarctic Peninsula. In his latest dispatch, Rodolfo comprehends the full impact of climate change on Antarctica’s krill, penguins, and seals.

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Diary of my journey to the Antarctic Peninsula

Together with some of the world’s best wildlife photographers and filmmakers, penguin expert Rodolfo Werner is on a mission to protect the vibrant waters around the Antarctic Peninsula. In this first dispatch from aboard the Hans Hansson, Rodolfo discovers the love of an elephant seal and walks in the footsteps of Antarctica’s intrepid explorers.…

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Share your love for Antarctica’s less popular creatures this Valentines

Valentine’s week is a great time to show your loved ones you care; a day to show the appreciation you feel but might not show or say the rest of the year. ASOC Executive Director Claire Christian points out that humans aren’t the only ones who need extra affection.

Antarctic animals, living far away in the Southern Ocean, are often forgotten.…

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Why CCAMLR Should Safeguard More Penguin Habitat in Antarctica


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5 beautiful pics to celebrate Penguin Awareness Day

Today is Penguin Awareness Day, so we thought we would celebrate with five amazing snaps of penguin species that live on Antarctica and in its surrounding waters.

1. The humble Emperor. The largest of all penguins, the Emperor penguin is the only penguin species to breed on sea ice during Antarctica’s dark and frigid winter.…

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It’s not every day we receive a letter like this

It’s not every day that we receive government letters thanking us for bombarding them with a petition, but that’s exactly what happened last week. The UK Polar Regions Department sent us a letter with the royal seal. It reads:

We have received a number of e-mails generated by your website addressed to the Secretary of State, Minister Johnson, encouraging the UK to continue to advocate for the creation of a system of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the Southern Ocean.…

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