Russia has vetoed a proposal for the huge marine reserve
Ambitious plans to protect millions of square kilometers of Antarctic seas have been sunk by a surprise legal objection from Russian diplomats.
There was widespread hope that new reserves in the Ross Sea and in East Antarctica would be approved this week at an international meeting in Bremerhaven, Germany. The plans had the backing of scores of scientists, as well as non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and governments including the United States, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, and would have safeguarded species including penguins, seals and fish (see: Bid to protect Antarctic waters gets second chance). Fishing vessels are increasingly targeting Antarctic waters.
The proposal to protect the Ross Sea originated from the United States and New Zealand and would have banned fishing in 1.6 million square kilometers of sea, creating the world’s largest marine reserve and also establishing a special zone for scientists to research the impact of climate change and other changes in the region. A separate proposal championed by Australia, France and the European Union would have created seven protected areas off the east coast of Antarctica.
But today at the meeting the Russian delegation questioned the very authority of the Commission for the Conservation on Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), which regulates fishing in Antarctica, to create reserves, several participants said. To establish any reserve requires the agreement of all 25 members.
The Latest Streaming News: Antarctic Marine Protection updated minute-by-minute
Bookmark this page and come back often