The new Marine Protection Area represents a massive win for the conservation of marine species and the fight against the effects of climate change.
An agreement has seen a 600,000 square mile area in Antarctica become a protected marine park which will potentially save the lives of many species.
The area located in the Ross Sea, part of the Antarctic ocean will be the largest marine conservation area in the world and is where around 10,000 species call home. This means whales, penguins and seabirds will experience massive scale protection including the ban of commercial fishing over the next 35 years.
It’s all down to the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) and 24 countries and the European Union who came together on Friday to officially declare the Ross Sea to be a Marine Protection Area (MPA). Many species have been facing decline due to climate change and overfishing which has significantly disrupted the sensitive ecosystem.
CCAMLR Executive Secretary, Andrew Wright stated: “This decision represents an almost unprecedented level of international cooperation regarding a large marine ecosystem comprising important benthic and pelagic habitats. “It has been well worth the wait because there is now agreement among all Members that this is the right thing to do and they will all work towards the MPA’s successful implementation.”
According to the CCAMLR website, the marine park aims to “provide protection to marine species, biodiversity, habitat, foraging and nursery areas, as well as to preserve historical and cultural sites. MPAs can assist in rebuilding fish stocks, supporting ecosystem processes, monitoring ecosystem change and sustaining biological diversity.”
Despite the Ross Sea only representing 2 percent of the Southern Ocean, it’s home to 40 percent of Adelie penguins and 25 percent of emperor penguins as well as half of a certain species of orca found in the area. The 5 year process of negotiating and implementing the MPA has finally resulted in a positive result and will see a massive step forward in tackling the problems the marine world face.
“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,” stated Wright.