Friday, November 2, 2012

No Deal Reached To Protect Antarctic Waterways

Marine Life

A deal to protect the waterways around the Antarctic failed to receive the needed consensus of the 25 nations to pass; it was blocked by China, Russia and Ukraine, says an article in the BBC News:
For the past two weeks the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) has been meeting in Tasmania. Made up of representatives from 24 governments and the European Union, it has been considering proposals for the establishment of marine reserves in two critical areas of the Southern Ocean.

Many parts of Antarctica have been coming under increasing pressure as the growing global demand for sea food means the region's rich resources are increasingly targeted.Climate change and increased acidification of the waters are also likely to affect the food sources and habitats of many species in the region including penguins, seals and whales.

At the meeting the United States and New Zealand put forward competing plans to create a marine protected area of 1.6 million square kilometres in the Ross Sea. Another proposal would have created a reserve zone around East Antarctica—At around 1.9 million square kilometres, it would have covered an area almost three times the size of France.

Environmental groups had called for public participation via online petitions. The Antarctic Ocean Alliance (AOA) said that 1.2 million people had supported calls for large scale protection areas.
But petitions will not persuade nations like Russia and China, which hardly have a record of heeding the will of the people. Such a proposal to establish protected areas is a good one and is based on solid science. That this measure was blocked is bad news for the marine life in the Antarctica; moreover, it's bad news for humans. Overfishing leads to very proven deleterious consequences, not the least of which is an imbalance in the marine ecosystem.

It goes without saying that ocean conservation needs to be taken more seriously by nations who look only to exploit the earth and its resources. Such is not a good long-range strategy; it never was. The group will meet again in July 2013.

You can read the rest of the article at [BBC News]

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