By Lyn Goldsworthy
I went into the 2016 meeting of CCAMLR 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) 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 »