As Threats to Southern Ocean Mount, So Does Need for Greater Protections

CCAMLR should use annual meeting to help wildlife and ecosystems build resilience

As Threats to Southern Ocean Mount, So Does Need for Greater Protections
Penguins
Laurent Ballesta

Beginning Oct. 21, member countries of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) will meet for two weeks in Hobart, Australia, to determine the future of conservation in the Southern Ocean. CCAMLR delegates will consider proposals for three marine protected areas (MPAs), all of which have been discussed but failed to pass the commission in prior years. The urgency to designate new MPAs in the Southern Ocean continues to rise, driven by a growing body of science showing that conservation action in the Antarctic region could provide much-needed climate resilience for vulnerable ecosystems.

Earlier this year, the United Nations published a dire report on the state of global biodiversity, warning that species extinction rates are accelerating and declaring that about 1 million species are already threatened with extinction. This number includes iconic Southern Ocean species such as emperor and chinstrap penguins. A second report released last month by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded that the ocean and the Earth’s ice-covered regions, or cryosphere, are on the front line of the climate crisis, and recommended that global leaders act to increase the number and size of MPAs.

CCAMLR is well positioned to contribute significantly to this goal, given that the Southern Ocean makes up 18 percent of the global ocean and that its cold, deep waters store significant amounts of carbon. Further, scientists frequently note that what happens in the Southern Ocean doesn’t stay there so, for example, disruptions to nutrient upwelling and northbound currents could affect marine life around the world.

MPAs are the most effective tool to protect ocean ecosystems because they increase the diversity and abundance of species while enhancing the ocean’s resilience to environmental impacts, including climate change. An MPA network in the Southern Ocean would also help preserve the region’s function as a vital carbon sink—a service that is amplified by Antarctic krill, a keystone species that sequesters 23 million tons of carbon in the Southern Ocean each year.

This year, CCAMLR member governments should designate the three proposed MPAs—in East Antarctica, the Weddell Sea, and the Antarctic Peninsula. These areas, together with existing MPAs in the region, would protect more than 7 million square kilometers, significantly contributing to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s goal of protecting 30 percent of the world’s ocean by 2030 and fulfilling the commitment that CCAMLR members made in 2011 to establish an MPA network that protects representative examples of marine ecosystems, biodiversity and habitats.

CCAMLR’s scientific committee should also take the opportunity in Hobart to endorse a work plan that would enable the commission to adopt a long-term ecosystem-based management system for the Antarctic krill fishery. Commercial fishing grounds for Antarctic krill have a high degree of overlap with foraging ranges for land-based predators. This overlap creates fisheries competition that could further weaken ecosystems and compromise breeding and feeding conditions for many Southern Ocean species. In conjunction with a network of MPAs, this ecosystem-based management plan would provide the Southern Ocean ecosystem a fighting chance against cumulative stressors in the region.

Fact Sheet

南大洋的海洋保护区网络

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Fact Sheet

环绕南极洲的南大洋是地球上受人类行为影响程度最小的海洋生态系统之一。南大洋面积占世界海洋的 15%,拥有数千种独特物种,从颜色亮丽的海星、生物发光的蠕虫到淡色章鱼,多种多样。这里还生活着数百万 只企鹅,它们以数量巨大的磷虾为食。磷虾是一种小型的虾状甲壳类动物,与其他觅食物种一起构成了微妙 的食物网的基础。科学家认为,由于受到气候变化的影响,而且该地区的变暖速度快于地球上任何其他地方, 这里的生态系统正在发生改变

Fact Sheet

保护东南极

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Fact Sheet

在东南极海域中,MacRobertson、Drygalski 和 D’Urville Sea-Mertz 区域就涵盖了将近一百万平方公里。 这三个区域组成了南极海洋生物资源养护委员会 (CCAMLR) 目前正在考虑的海洋保护区系统 (MPA) 提案。 皮尤慈善信托基金会支持成立禁渔海洋保护区,因为证据显示此方法有助于强化生态系统和重建生物多 样性。海洋禁捕区也能提高气候恢复能力。具体而言,禁渔的海洋保护区有助于海洋和地球适应气候变化 的六个主要影响:海洋酸化、海平面上升、风雨强度增强、物种分布改变、生物生产力和含氧量的下降。

Fact Sheet

威德尔海保护

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Fact Sheet

南极海洋生物资源保护委员会2始的海洋生态系统之一。这个独特的栖息地以丰富的生物多样性而闻名,包括南极鹱、帝企鹅和阿德利企鹅以及多种海豹和鲸类。在海面冰层下的深处,营养丰富的海底生态系统构成了许多独特生物,如玻璃海绵和冷水珊瑚等的主要栖息地。 百万平方公里)海洋保护区的提案。威德尔海是南极半岛东部一片被冰层覆盖的遥远海湾,也是世界上最原 (CCAMLR) 正在审议一项关于在威德尔海建立近 790,000 平方英里(超过

Issue Brief

保护南极半岛对 海洋生物至关重

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Issue Brief

人可能会遇到虎鲸和座头鲸、海狗和食蟹海豹,以及在那里筑巢和觅食的阿德利 企鹅、帽带企鹅和巴布亚企鹅(总计 150 万对)。但他们不太可能看得见的甲壳类 动物南极磷虾的庞大群体,它们是外形似虾的微小生物,磷虾是上文提到的企鹅 和哺乳类现物种赖以生存的食物.

Additional Resources

Video

Protecting East Antarctica and the Southern Ocean

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Video

In addition to millions of penguins, East Antarctica is home sea spiders the size of dinner plates and bright jelly fish and other bottom dwelling sea creatures that make the waters resemble a coral reef.

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Protecting the World’s Final Ocean Frontier

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Video

The Southern Ocean—the waters surrounding Antarctica—is the one of the last untouched wilderness areas on the planet. But a warming climate and increased fishing pressures put this vast area and its iconic species such as penguins, whales, and seals at risk. 

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CCAMLR 101: How to Protect Antarctica's Marine Life

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Video

What is CCAMLR, and how can it protect the penguins, seals, whales, and other animals that live in Antarctica? Our whiteboard animation explains.