We've talked about MPAs before on this blog, but the issue is never more urgent for Antarctica than it is right now. This October, the body that regulates Antarctica's marine environment, the Commission on Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), has a window of opportunity to show bold leadership to protect Antarctica's oceans. CCAMLR is made up of 24 countries and the EU, but it meets with limited public participation and no media access. As it holds the fate of almost 10% of the world’s oceans in its hands, the world’s attention is needed to show delegates we want this unique environment protected.
Last year, 15 environmental organisations including the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition came together to form the Antarctic Ocean Alliance. Together, we are calling for the world's largest network of no-take marine reserves and marine protected areas in the ocean around Antarctica. We need the world’s public to get actively involved in helping to make this happen. As home to almost 10,000 diverse and unique species including penguins, seals, whales, toothfish and albatross, this is one of the most pristine ocean environments left on Earth and worth preserving. Too often decisions are made about environmental protection without input from the public, but the high seas belong to everyone and many of us feel a strong need to see this frozen part of the world left as it is.
Supporting the Antarctic Ocean Alliance are actor and UN Biodiversity Ambassador Ed Norton, entrepreneur Richard Branson and Oceanographer Sylvia Earle. Together we are calling on the public to Join our Watch of the body that regulates Antarctica's waters. We believe public action is needed if we are to convince CCAMLR to make the right decision and agree to large-scale protection that means key ecosystems will not be open to fishing or development.
Join the Alliance, Join the Watch at www.antarcticocean.org, sign the petition and ask others to take action.