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.
The first proposed MPA, in waters off East Antarctica, is multi-use, meaning that activities, including fishing, will be allowed to take place so long as they don’t have a negative impact on the conservation or scientific objectives. Currently, toothfish catch in these waters is relatively low. Catches are relatively small and the impact on this fishing would be minimal. There has not been krill fishing in the area for more than 20 years because the density of krill in the area is up to 80 percent lower than other Antarctic waters. Even if the area was closed to krill fishing, there would still be opportunities to catch krill outside the MPA.
The second proposed MPA in the Ross Sea, if adopted as is, would cover 1.5 million square kilometres of ocean, protecting a third of the world’s emperor penguins and around half of special type of killer whales living in the area.…Continue reading »