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Pic: John Weller
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Pic: John Weller
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Pic: John Weller
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Pic: John Weller
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Pic: Rob Robinson

SYDNEY, 18 October 2012 – An alliance of 30 global environment organisations today 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.

The Antarctic Ocean Alliance (AOA) report “Antarctic Ocean Legacy: Protection for the East Antarctic Coastal Region”, supports a proposal from Australia, France and the 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.

In just four 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 (MPAs) in Southern Ocean as a legacy for future generations,” Mr. 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.

“While the AOA supports the conservation gains included in the proposal from Australia, France and the EU, we hope that CCAMLR delegates will consider expanding on the area to be protected to include additional areas that are critical habitats for Adélie penguins, Antarctic toothfish, minke whales and Antarctic krill in the future,” said Mr. Campbell.

Antarctic marine ecosystems are under increasing pressure. Growing demand for seafood means greater interest in the Southern Ocean’s resources, while climate change is affecting the abundance of important food sources for penguins, whales, seals and birds.

— Blair Palese, AOA Communications Director

www.antarcticocean.org

Twitter: #JointheWatch, #Antarcticocean

Notes:

1) The AOA’s research has identified over 40% of the Southern Ocean that warrants protection in a network of large-scale marine reserves and MPAs, based on the combination of existing marine protected areas, areas identified within previous conservation and planning analyses and including additional key environmental habitats described in the AOA’s report.

2) The AOA is campaigning for CCAMLR to adopt its ‘Vision for Circumpolar Protection’ while this unique marine environment is still largely intact. CCAMLR has agreed to create a network of marine protected areas in some of the ocean around Antarctica this year but the size and scale is still under debate.

3) CCAMLR is a consensus body that meets with limited public participation and does not provide media access. The AOA believes that, without public attention during the process, only minimal protection will be achieved. It has launched the ‘Join the Watch’ campaign focused on CCAMLR, which now has more than 100,000 participants from around the world.

4) Antarctic waters make up almost 10% of the world’s seas and are some of the most intact environments left on earth. They are home to almost 10,000 unique and diverse species such as penguins, seals and whales.

Video and Photos: A video news release and b-roll are available at: http://www.reru.com.au/Mediafiles/Antarctic_Ocean_Alliance/Videos/.

Report Exec Summary … here

First published: 2012-10-18 07:32 PM