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

antarctic_ocean_allianceHobart, 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.

Mike Walker, Project Director of the Antarctic Ocean Alliance said there is growing global momentum for the designation of marine protected areas (MPAs), evidenced by President Obama’s August decision to expand the Papahānaumokuākea marine national monument near Hawaii to become the world’s largest protected area.

Scientists estimate that Antarctic and Southern Ocean currents drive life-sustaining nutrients, including krill, for three-quarters of Earth’s marine life.

“The time for action to safeguard the Antarctic’s waters, the engine room of the ocean, is now. Commitments for almost four million square kilometers of MPAs have been made in the past weeks. This is a clear indication to all the parties participating in the meeting in Hobart that there is a growing momentum for greater ocean conservation, and Antarctic’s oceans and marine life should be next,” Mike Walker said.

Andrea Kavanagh, director of Antarctic and Southern Ocean work at The Pew Charitable Trusts, added, “This year’s global meeting could result in the largest-ever protection of the high seas, and Russia is the key to reaching this goal.”

“As the chair of CCAMLR, Russia is approaching this year’s negotiations positively.”

Russia has designated 2017 as the Year of Ecology and significantly increased the size of the MPA around Franz Josef Land in the Arctic.…

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Vale Michel Rocard, father of Antarctic protection, 1930-2016

Some say Antarctica is the last pristine wilderness left on the planet. It is the only place in the world where the environment and science are prioritised both on the continent and in the surrounding Southern Ocean. How did this region escape war, human destruction, mineral exploitation and rampant development?

The answer is that Antarctica is home to one of the most successful international agreements: The Protocol of Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty.…

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Despite substantial movement from China on Antarctic Conservation, Southern Ocean progress remains stalled while protection efforts expand around world

HOBART, 30 October 2015 – The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) has again failed to agree to protect key areas in the Ross Sea and in East Antarctica at its annual meeting in Hobart.

However, a statement of support by China for a revised Ross Sea Proposal– which has in past years actively blocked this proposal, and a statement of commitment by Russia for inter-sessional discussion of the proposal, has given hope to a process that has thus far been clouded by inaction, uncertainty and active blocking.…

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What Antarctica teaches me about politics

By Daniel W. Drezner

The aesthetic pleasures of a cruise to Antarctica are considerable. The scenery is majestic. The animal life – whales, seals and lots and lots and lots of penguins – is simply adorable. And I’m never giving another dime to National Geographic, because even a photographic newbie can produce calendar-worthy pictures. …

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