An insider’s analysis: How 24 countries and the EU finally agreed to protect the Ross Sea

By Lyn Goldsworthy

I went into the 2016 meeting of CCAMLR[1] without any expectations of achieving very much, let alone a marine protected area designation. The past three meetings had not been good, and there had been little indication prior to the meeting of movement from the one remaining antagonist to marine protected areas: Russia. And while others had expressed their willingness to support the proposals on the table, they were talking very short time limits of 20 years or less.

But we ended the meeting with largest marine protected area in the world – 1.55 million square kilometres, approximately 1.2 million square kilometres of which is set aside from commercial fishing. The marine protected area (MPA)[2] will provide special protection for representative examples of the region’s biodiversity and also act as a reference area to monitor the effects of fishing and climate change in the Southern Ocean.

The world’s largest marine protected area in Antarctica’s Ross Sea

The Ross Sea is home to one of the world’s most intact large marine ecosystems, and thus an ideal natural laboratory for the study of ecosystem function. The Ross Sea is home to unique and wonderful benthic (bottom-dwelling) communities, 38 per cent of the world’s Adélie penguins, 26 per cent of Emperor penguins, more than 30 per cent of Antarctic petrels, 6 per cent of Antarctic minke whales, 30 per cent of ‘Ross Sea’ killer whales, and the richest diversity of fishes in the high latitude Southern Ocean, including seven species found nowhere else.…

Continue reading »

Thank you

BIG HIGH FIVE to all of you who helped secure protection of Antarctica’s Ross Sea. There have been so many people and organisations involved over the last six years, and we would like to say thank you.

Continue reading »

Major Victory for Protection of the Southern Ocean

Friday 28 October, Hobart, Australia: The Antarctic Ocean Alliance applauds the momentous agreement by Members of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) to safeguard 1.55 million km2 of the Ross Sea in the Southern Ocean.

“CCAMLR made history today by declaring the world’s largest marine protected area in the Ross Sea, protecting penguins, seals, whales and countless other creatures,” said Andrea Kavanagh, who directs The Pew Charitable Trusts Antarctic and Southern Ocean work.…

Continue reading »

How fisheries and marine protection can coexist in the Southern Ocean

Fishing and marine protection don’t seem like they should get along, but our latest report demonstrates that the ocean is big enough for the both of them. Three proposed Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the Southern Ocean are on the table as CCAMLR delegates meet in Hobart this week. In previous years, opponents have voiced concerns that these MPAs would impact fishing in the area, but our research shows that catches can continue at sustainable rates while protecting Antarctica’s rich and wild biodiversity.…

Continue reading »

PRESS RELEASE: Global Momentum to Protect the Antarctic Ocean Builds as International Talks Begin

Hobart, Australia, Monday October 17, 2016,: The Antarctic Ocean Alliance is calling on nations to secure the future of the Antarctic and Southern Ocean, at the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) currently meeting in Hobart, Australia.

This week, representatives from 25 governments are gathering in Hobart to address three proposed marine protected areas, amounting to more than five million square kilometers of Antarctic waters.…

Continue reading »

24 countries, dozens of organisations, and 80,000 supporters (including you!)

If the Antarctic Ocean Alliance was one animal it would be an Arctic tern.

This incredible little bird recently made the longest-ever recorded migration. It flew from the Arctic, via Africa to Antarctica’s Weddell Sea and then all the way back again. In just under a year, it clocked up a whopping 100,000 kilometres – more than twice the circumference of the planet.…

Continue reading »

The World’s Last Great Wilderness

Exactly 25 years ago on October 4, 1991, countries signed the Madrid Protocol to protect Antarctica’s environment.

Continue reading »

We are close

Mike Walker, Project Director, Antarctic Ocean Alliance

Just a few weeks away from the annual meeting in Hobart of the the Commission for the Conservation of Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), the signs of getting a result are looking positive. We could be on the verge of a win for the Southern Ocean.…

Continue reading »

Inside meeting reveals Russia’s new commitment to the environment

Blue Iceberg

Mike Walker, Antarctic Ocean Alliance, Project Director 

Earlier in September, UNEP Patron of the Oceans, Lewis Pugh, met with Sergei Ivanov, President’s Putin special representative on the environment and ecology. It was a warm and constructive meeting during which they discussed the exciting plans and opportunities for Russia’s Year of Ecology, 2017. …

Continue reading »

Make a Splash for Antarctica with Richard Branson