Archive for the ‘CCAMLR’ Category

CCAMLR Delays Decision on Antarctic Reserve in the Southern Ocean

Photo by micheal clarke stuff. Some rights reserved.

Last week, the Commission for Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, a coalition of the EU and 24 member states, gathered in Hobart, Australia to discuss the proposal to build an 872,000 square mile ocean wildlife reserve in Antarctica. The reserve would serve as a refuge to the diverse and fragile ecosystem in the Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica, home to whales, seals, penguins, and other endangered species, where fishing and mineral harvesting would be outlawed and a focus would be placed on the protection of the aforementioned fragile ecosystem.

Unfortunately for the whales, seals, and penguins, a final decision on whether or not to go through with the establishment of the reserve was deferred until next July, when “all the relevant science will be considered.” The commission, which meets behind closed doors and whose meeting notes are not available for the public, did note that it passed a proposal supported by the US and the EU that institutes mandatory inspections of all fishing vessels present in the Southern Ocean. The Pew Environment Group acknowledged this as closing “an important gap” in the protection of this area.

China, Russia, Japan, South Korea, and Ukraine have been cited as the dominant forces opposing the reserve.  The commission is set to reconvene at an inter-annual meeting set for July in Bremerhaven Germany, where (hopefully) a final decision will be made.

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