Environment Counts | 1.55 million sq km of Ross Sea protected from human activities under new agreement :
In October 2016 all Member countries of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) signed a joint agreement to establish a 1.55 million sq km Marine Protected Area (MPA) in Antarctica’s Ross Sea. Under the agreement, 1.1 million sq km will be set aside as a general protection zone where no commercial fishing will be allowed for 35 years. The Ross Sea MPA is home to 38% of the world’s Adelie penguins, 30% of the world’s Antarctic petrels and around 6% of the world’s population of Antarctic minke whales.
The agreement will come into force in December 2017.
This decision to establish the Ross Sea MPA follows CCAMLR’s establishment, in 2009, of the worldâ€™s first high-seas marine protected area, the South Orkney Islands southern shelf MPA, a region covering 94,000 sq km in the south Atlantic.
MPAs aim to provide protection to marine species, biodiversity, habitat, foraging and nursery areas, as well as to preserve historical and cultural sites. MPAs are designed to assist in rebuilding fish stocks, supporting ecosystem processes, monitoring ecosystem change and sustaining biological diversity.