News / Europe

Nations to Decide on Creating Vast Antarctic Marine Reserves

Adelie penguins in Antarctica. (January 18, 2005 file photo)
Adelie penguins in Antarctica. (January 18, 2005 file photo)
TEXT SIZE - +
Reuters
— An international commission is considering whether to designate the waters around Antarctica special marine reserves, a step campaigners say would safeguard the habitat of whales, seals and penguins and more than double the world's protected sea area.

Any change in status requires a unanimous decision by the 25 members of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR). Two members, Russia and Ukraine, have raised legal concerns, a German delegate told a media briefing on Monday.

The Russian and Ukrainian delegations were not immediately available for comment.

CCAMLR was founded in 1982 to protect Antarctic marine life. The United Nations has committed to classifying 10 percent of the world's coastal waters and oceans as protected areas by 2020 - up from 2 percent at present.

Last November CCAMLR members, which include the European Union, Norway, China, Australia and New Zealand, failed to agree on setting up marine protected areas (MPA) amid disputes over scientific findings, the duration of the protection period, and a reluctance by some to shut off commercial access to new fishing waters.

At a new fresh round of talks beginning in the German town of Bremerhaven on Monday, delegates will examine a U.S. and New Zealand-backed proposal on preserving the Ross Sea, which is seven times the size of Germany, and a European Union, France and Australia-backed proposal for the waters of East Antarctica.

In an open letter to Vladimir Putin, the Ocean Elders campaign group appealed for the Russian president's support.

“The Ross Sea and East Antarctica have been spared the impact of widespread pollution, invasive species, bottom trawling and other large-scale commercial fishing operations that are imperiling other marine areas around the world."

“But conditions are changing, and the need to take steps to better protect key areas in the Southern Ocean is compelling,” the letter to Putin said.

Some fishing fleets are looking south because stocks nearer home are depleted and some nations worry about shutting off large areas of the oceans.

“The Ross Sea region is one of the last and greatest ocean wilderness areas on the planet. It is home to a unique and productive ecosystem,” the U.S. Department of State said in a statement. “It is also a natural laboratory for scientific study to better understand climate change, our oceans, and our world.”

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid