‘Deep Concern’ as Deal to Protect Antarctic Seas Fails

‘Deep Concern’ as Deal to Protect Antarctic Seas Fails

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Governments meeting in Australia have failed to reach agreement on new marine protected areas for the Antarctic ocean. They have deferred a decision until July 2013 when all the relevant science will be considered. Environmental groups have expressed deep concern about the lack of consensus on how to develop a network of protected zones. They blame Russia, China and Ukraine for blocking agreement.

For the past two weeks the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources has been meeting in Tasmania. Made up of representatives from 24 governments and the European Union, it has been considering proposals for the establishment of marine reserves in two critical areas of the Southern Ocean. Many parts of Antarctica have been coming under increasing pressure as the growing global demand for sea food means the region’s rich resources are increasingly targeted. Climate change and increased acidification of the waters are also likely to affect the food sources and habitats of many species in the region including penguins, seals and whales.

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