This Friday, an agreement between 24 countries and the European Union made possible the creation of the largest marine park in the world, located in the in the Ross Sea, at the Antarctic Ocean. This area covers a massive 1.55 million square kilometers (600,000 square miles).
This sanctuary will cover more than 12 percent of the Southern Ocean, which represents the habitat of 10,000 sea species, including the majority of the world’s penguins, seabirds, whales and colossal squids.
The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) established this week that the Ross Sea will become a Marine Protection Area (MPA), that automatically will ban all commercial fishing for the next 35 years. This measure will take place in 425,000 square miles, while in other designated spaces called “research areas” it will be allowed to the fishing of krill and sawfish. Although, the primary objective for the supporters of this initiative is to ban all the fishing on a permanent basis.
“We are optimistic that after years of deadlock at the annual CCAMLR meeting, today’s decision will spark renewed momentum for CCAMLR members to achieve permanent protection for the Ross Sea in coming years and also deliver marine protected areas in East Antarctica and the Weddell Sea,” Chris Johnson, the WWF Australian Ocean Science manager, said in an interview.
He also added that this represents a turning point in how the international community tries to solve the climate problems.
Both activists and scientists had said that these actions represent a proper understanding of the climate change. This, in addition to the approval of the Kigali treaty the past Friday, where over 170 countries compromised on lowering hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and take 0.5C out of future global warming.
“The Ross Sea Region MPA will safeguard one of the last unspoiled ocean wilderness areas on the planet – home to unparalleled marine biodiversity,” the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said, in relation with the Ross Ocean being declared a Marine Protection Area.
The Russian Federation had blocked conservation proposals in other five occasions, but this time, the negotiations were enough to change its posture. For this action to take place, it was needed that all 25 members of the Commission (that includes the United States and China) supported the decision.
The Marine Protection Area will come to force in December of 2017, making the Ross Sea the largest marine park worldwide.
Source: Consumnes Connection