Antarctic plan to
A proposal for a system of Marine Protected Areas for Antarctica has been proposed by Australia, France and the European Union
The Marine Protected Areas, or MPAs, would cover 1.9 million square kilometres of high seas off East Antarctica.
The proposal is to be considered by the 2012 annual meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), which began in Hobart this week.
Leader of the Australian delegation to CCAMLR and Director of the Australian Antarctic Division, Tony Fleming, said the proposal included areas along the east Antarctic coast which would regulate activities to conserve the biodiversity and values of the areas.
“The MPAs will protect those parts that are vulnerable to disturbance and which play an important ecological role such as providing krill and toothfish nurseries, and marine mammal and penguin foraging areas,” Dr Fleming said.
“Three of the seven areas are proposed as scientific reference areas to gauge the future impacts of climate change on the productivity and ecology of the region.”
He said the proposal recognised that rational use of marine living resources could be conducted in the CCAMLR area but would need to be specially managed to ensure that the conservation values were protected.
“The decision-making process requires consensus across the CCAMLR member countries to adopt the MPAs,” Dr Fleming said.
“CCAMLR has been working towards a network of Southern Ocean MPAs by 2012.”
Edition 336, 23 October 2012