The Ross Sea alone has more than 1 million pairs of Adélie penguins, 28,850 pairs of emperor penguins, 30,000 to 50,000 Weddell seals, 5.5 million Antarctic petrels, and 21,000 minke whales. Many Antarctic habitats have yet to be studied, and almost every research expedition discovers new species. The Antarctic remains one of the world’s last wild frontiers.
The region also holds some of the most pristine marine ecosystems left on the planet. The Ross and Weddell seas have been spared the widespread pollution, invasive species, bottom trawling, and other large-scale commercial fishing operations that are imperiling other oceans around the world, although the Southern Ocean has had extensive commercial whaling. But conditions are changing, and the need to protect Antarctica’s oceans is now urgent.
That’s why The Pew Charitable Trusts and the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition advocate for a system of marine reserves in Antarctica’s Southern Ocean. Our goal: to ensure comprehensive protection for the diversity of Antarctic marine life and their habitats.
When it comes to conserving pristine areas, there are no second chances. Let’s work together to get this one right.
Visit the Protecting Antarctica’s Southern Ocean campaign page to see the progress that has been made in the region, including the 2016 designation of the world’s largest marine protected area in the Ross Sea.
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The East Antarctic ice sheet flows off the Antarctic continent into the surrounding Southern Ocean, surrendering to sapphire seas that are home to an array of marine life. Penguins, seals, Antarctic krill, and Antarctic and Patagonian toothfish, also known as Chilean sea bass, are among the many species that rely on this relatively unexplored, remote, and frigid habitat for survival. Read More