Protecting Penguins Through CCAMLR

This October, two dozen countries and the European Union will decide the fate of some of the most important penguin habitat on Earth. The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, or CCAMLR, could create two large marine reserves in the Ross Sea and the waters off East Antarctica.

These large-scale protections would preserve penguin foraging and breeding grounds, and help build resilience to warming seas and melting and shifting ice.

Countries have tried four times to agree on the fate of Antarctic waters and each time have failed to reach consensus. It’s time for international leaders to step up and make the right decision for the future of penguins and designate the world’s largest marine reserve in Antarctica’s Southern Ocean.

Protecting Our Southern Ocean
Protecting Our Southern Ocean
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Protecting Our Southern Ocean

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The waters that surround Antarctica are among the least-altered ecosystems on Earth. Covering nearly 10 percent of the planet’s surface, the Southern Ocean supports a wide array of unique biodiversity that thrives in frigid temperatures. Tiny Antarctic krill, numbering in the trillions, flourish in huge swarms that sustain life for the region’s diversity of predators, including killer whales, Weddell seals, and extraordinary seabirds. Antarctic and Patagonian toothfish — valuable species sold as Chilean sea bass — also reside in these Southern Ocean waters, as do a variety of penguin species, the most iconic marine birds in the Antarctic.

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10 Reasons to Create Marine Reserves Around Antarctica: 2015 Edition

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Beneath the icy blue waters that surround Antarctica is a dazzling array of life ranging from the beautiful to the bizarre–a unique ecosystem where penguins, whales, and toothfish thrive.

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East Antarctica Marine Protected Area Proposal

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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.

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Ross Sea Marine Reserve Proposal

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The remote Ross Sea supports a biologically diverse ecosystem that has thrived essentially unchanged for millenniums. In fact, a 2011 study published in the journal Biological Conservation called the Ross Sea “the least altered marine ecosystem on Earth.”

Additional Resources

CCAMLR 101: How to Protect Antarctica's Marine Life

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CCAMLR 101: How to Protect Antarctica's Marine Life

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