Antarctic Marine Protection Film Wins International Film Honors

Antarctic Marine Protection Film Wins International Film Honors

On Saturday, March 16, “The Last Ocean” screens at Washington, DC's Environmental Film Festival, Two days later, it will be presented at a Pew's reception with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and dignitaries from around the world. With only four months until world leaders decide the fate of the Ross Sea and the East Antarctic marine areas, the countdown to consensus on conservation of Antarctica's Southern Ocean has begun.

With a critical decision pending this summer, the case for protecting Antarctica's Southern Ocean is getting the red carpet treatment. “The Last Ocean” took home the “Best Call 2 Action Film” award from the influential Boulder International Film Festival last weekend. The film's stunning imagery depicts the abundant and fragile life in the Antarctic Ross Sea, one of the last places on earth where the delicate balance of nature still exists, and where whales, penguins and seals share the waters with thousands of little-known, spectacular creatures like bioluminescent worms, brilliant starfish, and ghost-like octopuses. Directed by Peter Young, the film features Boulder local and Pew Marine Fellow John Weller, whose expeditions to Antarctica have produced highly acclaimed photographs of the Ross Sea.

The interest in the Southern Ocean comes none too soon. In July, at the urging of scientists and conservation leaders, 24 countries and the European Union are expected to decide whether to create permanent protections for the Ross Sea and other parts of the Southern Ocean, or leave these areas vulnerable to large-scale fishing. Several nations have expanded their fishing activity in the Ross Sea, pushing the Antarctic toothfish, an apex predator in the ecosystem that's marketed as “Chilean sea bass,” into decline, and disrupting a food web that, other than the negative impacts of commercial whaling, has remained much the same for centuries.

Less than 1 percent of the world's ocean is fully protected.

Less than 1 percent of the world's ocean is fully protected from intensive fishing and other extractive activities, and the majority of the world's fisheries are over-exploited. To find out more about “The Last Ocean” and other critical marine areas of the Antarctic, visit the Southern Ocean Sanctuaries Campaign website.