Russia blocks creation of two huge Marine Protected Areas in Antarctica

An extraordinary meeting of the Commission of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) to establish Marine Protected Areas (MPA) in the Ross Sea region and in East Antarctica wrapped up on Tuesday without an agreement after Russia with support from Ukraine blocked the initiative.

The MPAs initiative will be again discussed at the CCAMLR regular meeting in Hobart, Australia

The MPAs initiative will be again discussed at the CCAMLR regular meeting in Hobart, Australia

The nyet squad

The nyet squad

“The outcome is not what we expected or hoped for … We did not reach a consensus,” Terje Lobach, the Commission’s chairperson, said on Tuesday at the end of the meeting in the northern German town of Bremerhaven.

Delegates at the conference in Bremerhaven looked at two proposals to create huge ocean sanctuaries off Antarctica.

The first, which was proposed by the United States and New Zealand, would have covered an area of 1.6 million square kilometers (640,000 square miles) of the Ross Sea, a deep bay on the Pacific side of the continent.

The other, supported by the European Union, France, and Australia, would have protected 1.9 million square kilometers on the Indian Ocean side of Antarctica.

However, the Russian delegation supported by neighboring Ukraine, raised questions about the CCAMLR legal power to implement any such proposal, according to environmental groups.

“The actions of the Russian delegation have put international cooperation and goodwill at risk, the two key ingredients needed for global marine conservation”, said Andrea Kavanagh, in charge of the Southern Ocean Sanctuaries campaign at the US green group Pew Environment.

 

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