South Africa took a big step forward this week by proposing the creation of a huge marine protected area (MPA) around the sub-Antarctic Prince Edward Islands, which are home to large populations of whales, seals, penguins, and albatrosses. While the MPA hasn't been created yet, South Africa has started the process of creating the reserve, and is well on its way thanks to the efforts of the WWF in developing a plan for the MPA. When created, the Prince Edward Islands MPA will be the sixth largest MPA in the world - 180,000 square kilometers - and the largest in the Antarctic region. Impressive!
South Africa has set an excellent example for the rest of the world. Many countries agreed to create a network of representative MPAs around the world by 2012, but very little progress has been made towards this goal. It's time for everyone else to step up, before it's too late for our oceans.