Massive breakthrough in the Ross Sea

Massive breakthrough in the Ross Sea

A new agreement could totally change the future for the Ross Sea near Antarctica, and potentially save species.

World leaders have just reached a huge new agreement that would set aside 600,000 square miles of ocean near Antarctica. A group of 24 nations along with the European Union have agreed to establish the largest marine protect area on Earth, setting aside the Ross Sea near Antarctica and making it unavailable for commercial fishing.

In addition, the agreement sets aside 28 percent of this new area for research zones as scientists and leaders seek to protect these areas from the scourge of overfishing. Lots of species call this delicate ecosystem home, from whales to penguins to tiny krill.

The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) held a meeting in Hobart, Australia to come to come to the agreement.

CCAMLR Executive Secretary, Andrew Wright, said that it was an import discovery.

“This has been an incredibly complex negotiation which has required a number of Member countries bringing their hopes and concerns to the table at six annual CCAMLR meetings as well as at intersessional workshops. A number of details regarding the MPA are yet to be finalised but the establishment of the protected zone is in no doubt and we are incredibly proud to have reached this point,” said Wright in the statement.

The statement adds: “CCAMLR’s Scientific Committee first endorsed the scientific basis for proposals for the Ross Sea region put forward by the USA and New Zealand in 2011. It invited the Commission to consider the proposals and provide guidance on how they could be progressed. Each year from 2012 to 2015 the proposal was refined in terms of the scientific data to support the proposal as well as the specific details such as exact location of the boundaries of the MPA. Details of implementation of the MPA will be negotiated through the development of a specific monitoring and assessment plan. The delegations of New Zealand and the USA will facilitate this process.”

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