Weathered iceberg in the Southern Ocean. (Photo: Greenpeace/Jiri Rezac)
Green groups call for greater protection of Antarctica
Friday, October 19, 2012, 22:40 (GMT + 9)
An alliance of 30 global environment organisations this week launched a report calling for greater protection for the East Antarctic marine environment, on the eve of an international meeting where the future conservation of this region will be decided, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
The Antarctic Ocean Alliance (AOA) report Antarctic Ocean Legacy: Protection for the East Antarctic Coastal Region, supports a proposal from Australia, France and the European Union (EU) for East Antarctic marine protection but also calls for additional important areas to be included such as the Prydz Gyre, the Cosmonaut Polynya, and the East India seamounts.
|AOA indicative map of a representative network of marine protected areas. (Image: AOA)
In just seven days, the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), will begin meetings in Hobart, Tasmania to debate several proposals for marine protection, including the East Antarctic coastal region and the Ross Sea. The Ross Sea was the subject of an AOA report in February this year.
"The AOA is calling on CCAMLR Members to support the current East Antarctic coastal region proposal put forward by Australia, France and the EU, but to also consider additional areas in subsequent years that our report shows are critical to ensuring the wildlife in the region gets the protection it needs," said AOA Director Steve Campbell.
"We are calling on CCAMLR Members to support the establishment of the world’s largest network of marine reserves and marine protected areas in the ocean around Antarctica as a legacy for future generations," Campbell said. "Decisive protection for the East Antarctic coastal region and Ross Sea would be a great start to that process."
The remote East Antarctic coastal region is home to a significant number of the Southern Ocean’s penguins, seals and whales. It also contains rare and unusual seafloor and oceanographic features, which support high biodiversity.