Pew Applauds Designation of the World’s Largest Marine Protected Area

Long-awaited reserve created in Antarctica’s Ross Sea

Pew Applauds Designation of the World’s Largest Marine Protected Area
Ross Sea Marine Protected Area

© John B. Weller

The map was updated on Nov. 28, 2016 to list the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources as the source.

Hobart, Australia—The 35th annual meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), which ended today, resulted in an agreement to designate the Ross Sea as a marine protected area—at 1.55 million square kilometers (600,000 square miles), the world’s largest. Similar proposals had failed to pass for the past five years.

Andrea Kavanagh, director of Antarctic and Southern Ocean work for The Pew Charitable Trusts, issued the following statement:

“Today, CCAMLR made history by declaring the planet’s largest marine protected area in the Ross Sea. This landmark decision represents the first time that nations have agreed to protect a huge area of the ocean that lies beyond the jurisdiction of any individual country and shows that CCAMLR takes its role as protector of Antarctic waters seriously. This would not have been possible without Russia joining with other countries to pass the proposal. The governments of the United States and New Zealand should also be commended for their tireless work these past six years.

“Although there wasn’t time to complete action on additional proposals for Southern Ocean marine protected areas in the nearby Weddell Sea and East Antarctic waters, it is clear that all the CCAMLR member governments are now committed to protecting these pristine areas for future generations."

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Ross Sea Marine Protected Area
Ross Sea Marine Protected Area
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Ross Sea: World’s Largest Marine Protected Area

Historic decision to protect 1.55 million square kilometers comes after 5 years of negotiations

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Today’s closing of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) meeting made history by declaring the largest marine protected area on the planet in Antarctica’s Ross Sea. This marks the first time that CCAMLR’s 24 member countries and the European Union reached consensus to protect this huge area of the Southern Ocean after similar proposals were blocked for the past five years.

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