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Antarctica’s Ross Sea Marine Protected Area (MPA)

It was reported by the Cambridge-based British Antarctic Survey (BAS) that the world’s experts on Antarctic marine conservation had in week ended 29 October agreed to establish a marine protected area (MPA) in Antarctica’s Ross Sea.

At the meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), all Member countries agreed to a joint USA/New Zealand proposal to establish a 1.55 million km2 area of the Ross Sea with special protection from human activities. This area of ocean is equivalent in size to the UK and France combined.

This new MPA, due to come into force in December 2017, will limit, or entirely prohibit, certain activities in order to meet specific conservation, habitat protection, ecosystem monitoring and fisheries management objectives. It is understood that 72% of the MPA will be a no-take zone, which forbids all fishing, while other sections will permit some harvesting of fish and krill for scientific research.

Ross Sea Marine Protected Area delineated in red. – illustration kindly provided by the British Antarctic Survey ©