PROPOSALS to protect Antarctica’s Ross Sea by creating the world’s largest marine protected area (MPA) have failed to gain support.
The 25-member Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) met in Hobart this week to decide which of the seas around the frozen continent would become MPAs.
New Zealand and the United States had tabled a proposal for an MPA of 2.27 million square kilometres, which includes creating a “special research zone” where “light” fishing and tagging would be allowed.
At the close of the meeting on Thursday evening, the CCAMLR members had failed to agree to the proposal.
However, the CCAMLR has agreed to hold an intercessional meeting in Germany in July.
The Antarctic Ocean Alliance group says the failure of the meeting to deliver was deeply disappointing.
“CCAMLR members failed to establish any large-scale Antarctic marine protection at this meeting because a number of countries actively blocked conservation efforts,” spokesman Steve Campbell said.
It’s understood fishing countries including Russia, China, Japan and Korea were blocking any agreement.
New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully believes proposals to protect Antarctica’s Ross Sea will eventually succeed.
“The proposal is a broad compromise between the interests of science, fishing and conservation,” he said on Radio New Zealand on Friday.
“I think it will get across the line eventually.”