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)
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 Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid