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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

The Last Ocean, part 2

The Last Ocean, part 2

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Saturday, October 29, 2016/Categories: natural history, wildlife conservation, marine life, sustainability, environment, adventure

                   Emperor Penquins, Ross Sea, Antarctica (credit: The Last Ocean & MountainFilm)

Three years ago, our Journal commented on a proposal to create the world's largest marine sanctuary in the Ross Sea off Antarctica. Scientific concern had been growing over the potential for overfishing and pollution of this prestine region. Protecting The Last Ocean was in the planning stages and was championed by environmental organizations, including Mission Blue and the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition. Unfortunately, the international commission overseeing Antarctica voted against the proposal as complete agreement is required from all members. That just changed with a unanimous reserve decision announced yesterday.

A new marine protected area (MPA), consisting of nearly 600,000 square miles or more than twice the size of Texas, will be established in the southern ocean. It will protect everything from penguins to whales and from sea birds to fish. According to the commission's statement:

the new reserve will come into force in December 2017, and will limit or entirely prohibit, certain commercial activities in order to meet specific conservation, habitat protection, ecosystem monitoring, and fisheries management objectives.

Environnmental news is often discouraging but this decision to create the Antarctic marine reserve needs to be widely celebrated. Now the region needs to be well monitored to protect against violations of this sound conservation development.



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