The Whale’s Voice: Alliance Seeks Vast Marine Reserves in Antarctic & New Alliance calling for fully protected marine reserve in Antarctica’s Ross Sea

 

Alliance Seeks Vast Marine Reserves in Antarctic

By DAVID JOLLY
An environmental coalition wants 19 zones in the region to gain protection.Antarctic Ocean AllianceAn environmental coalition wants 19 zones in the region to gain protection.
Green: Politics

On another marine front:

Frustrated with the pace of the United Nations group charged with protecting Antarctic waters, a coalition of environmental groups announced its own initiative on Tuesday, calling for the creation of what would be the world’s largest network of marine reserves in the Southern Ocean.

The Antarctic Ocean Alliance, which includes environmental and conservation organizations like Greenpeace, WWF, and the International Fund for Animal Welfare and the American oceanographer Sylvia Earle, is proposing that 19 areas be set aside as marine protected areas or no-take zones where fishing and mineral exploration are prohibited.

Many fisheries scientists argue that such reserves offer the best hope for restoring ecosystems stressed by overfishing, pollution and global warming. United Nations members meeting in Nagoya, Japan, agreed in October 2010 to set aside 10 percent of the world’s oceans as reserves by 2020 under theConvention on Biological Diversity, a target that all agree remains distant.

The body charged with overseeing the Southern Ocean habitat, theCommission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, is planning to discuss proposals from the United States and New Zealand for the creation of some reserves when it meets in late October in Hobart, Tasmania.

But the alliance argues that the commission, which does not allow the news media to cover its meetings and tightly controls access by environmental groups, will invariably fall short of what is needed without greater public scrutiny.

Antarctic waters, which account for about 10 percent of the world’s oceans, are home to 10,000 species including penguins, seals and whales, according to the alliance.

James N. Barnes, executive director of the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition, said that scientists were deeply troubled by the expansion of the Antarctic toothfish industry in the Ross Sea, largely by New Zealand fishermen. The toothfish, often marketed as Chilean sea bass, is a slow-growing apex predator prized for its flesh.

‘‘To this day, they don’t know the most basic things about these fish,’’ Mr. Barnes said. A booming fishery for krill, one of the bedrocks of the ecosystem, is also a concern, he said.

Under the precautionary principle built into the Antarctic commission’s charter, environmentalists argue, fishing should be curtailed in the absence of adequate stock assessments.

The proposed network of marine reserves, spanning 1.39 million square miles, would be more than twice the size of Alaska and a first step toward the creation of a larger network to protect the Southern Ocean. Currently, the Chagos Islands marine protected area in the Indian Ocean, at 210,000 square miles, is the world’s largest such zone.

‘‘The waters of Antarctica have become attractive for industrial scale fishing because fish close to where people live really don’t exist in large numbers anymore,’’ Dr. Earle said in a statement announcing the initiative. ‘‘We know we have a problem. We now need to do something about it.’’

Source: The New York Times

New Alliance calling for fully protected marine reserve in Antarctica’s Ross Sea

WELLINGTON, 28 February 2012 – A new coalition of environmental groups and notable people, the Antarctic Ocean Alliance (AOA), launched its first report, “Antarctic Ocean Legacy: A Marine Reserve for the Ross Sea”, at a reception for Parliamentarians and guests in Wellington today. The report outlines a proposal and rationale for a fully protected marine reserve in the Ross Sea, to become the keystone of the world’s largest network of marine protected areas and no-take marine reserves in the Southern Ocean around Antarctica.

The Alliance is made up of supporters such as actor and UN Biodiversity Ambassador Edward Norton, Oceanographer Dr Sylvia Earle, entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson and some 16 global environmental organisations including Greenpeace, WWF, Forest & Bird and ECO, the Environment and Conservation Organisations of NZ.

The new Alliance proposal calls for 3.6 million square kilometres of critical ecosystems in the Ross Sea to be protected from fishing and development. The Alliance proposal builds on and strengthens the current Ross Sea scenarios of the US and New Zealand governments, encompassing three additional areas with environmental features and critical habitats for the protection of this unique ocean ecosystem. If established, it would be the world’s largest fully protected marine reserve. The report describes the extraordinary and fascinating ecosystems of the Ross Sea region through the marine research to date and creates a clear vision to protect this unique ecosystem.

“The Ross Sea is one of the most amazing and relatively untouched marine environments on earth,” said the Alliance’s Chuck Fox.“ While there are two proposals on the table to protect some of it, our report shows that we need a much broader and ecosystems-focused approach if we are to ensure this environment remains healthy and stable.“

The regulatory body responsible for the Ross Sea and the rest of the Southern Ocean – the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) – has agreed to create a network of marine protected areas in some of the ocean around Antarctica this year and next. However, CCAMLR meets with limited public participation and no media access and the Alliance believes that, without public attention during the process, only minimal protection will be achieved.

The Alliance will launch the full global campaign later today with a video, new website, social media and call for public action to “Join the Watch” of the issue and sign a petition supporting Antarctica’s marine protection.

“The fate of the Antarctic’s Ross Sea is likely to be decided by 24 countries and the EU this year and the global public knows nothing about it,” said Alliance Campaign Director Steve Campbell. “Now is the time to protect this amazing environment but we’ll need the global public involved to make that happen.”

Antarctic waters make up almost 10% of the world’s seas and are some of the most intact left on earth. Home to almost 10,000 unique and diverse species such as penguins, seals and whales, these waters are now at risk from the impacts of commercial fishing and climate change. In addition to the Ross Sea region outlined, the Alliance is calling for 19 critical habitats in Antarctica’s Southern Ocean to be protected and will release a report in the coming months analysing all of these critical habitats.

The Antarctic Ocean Alliance is a coalition of high-profile individuals such as actor and UN Biodiversity Ambassador Edward Norton, Oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle and entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson as well as leading environmental groups. These include Greenpeace, WWF, Humane Society International, the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition (ASOC), the Blue Marine Foundation (UK), Mission Blue (US), Oceans 5 (US), Deep Wave (Germany), The Last Ocean, Forest & Bird (NZ), ECO (NZ), and associate partners the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the Korean Federation for Environmental Movement (KFEM), Greenovation Hub (China), Oceana, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), Ocean Planet (Australia) and other groups worldwide.

Source: WWF-GLOBAL

Editorial: Selvavidasinfronteras.org

Selvavidasinfronteras.wordpress.com

Advertisements

~ by FSVSF Admin on 29 February, 2012.

2 Responses to “The Whale’s Voice: Alliance Seeks Vast Marine Reserves in Antarctic & New Alliance calling for fully protected marine reserve in Antarctica’s Ross Sea”

  1. Reblogged this on chaotiqual.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: