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Designing the World's Largest Sea Shrine in Antarctica Blocked »Manila Bulletin News



Published

Agence France-Presse

It was designed to create the world's largest sea shrine in Antarctic waters when a key conservation summit could not reach consensus and neighboring environmentalists fomented the lack of scientific prospects.

(REUTERS / Pauline Askin / Files / MANILA BULLETIN)

(REUTERS / Pauline Askin / Files / MANILA BULLETIN)

The members of the organization commissioned to oversee the sustainable exploitation of the South Pacific did not agree on a one-year meeting on Friday over a 1.8 million square kilometer (1.1 million square kilometer) maritime security zone.

The planned sanctuary – about five times the size of Germany – prohibits a huge area in the Weddell Sea, protecting the most important species, including seals, penguins and whales.

There is a need for consensus between the Antarctic Marine Biodiversity Committee (CCAMLR) and the 24 members of the European Union.

Environmental groups, however, claim that Russia and China, whose concerns about compliance issues and fisheries rights have been a key obstacle in the past, have been involved in rejecting the plan with Norway.

"This was a historic opportunity to create the largest protected area on Earth in Antarctica: conserving wildlife, tackling climate change and improving the health of the global oceans," Frida Bengtsson said in a Saturday statement.

"Twenty-two delegations came here to conduct bona fide negotiations, but made serious scientific proposals for urgent maritime protection, interventions that scarcely covered the science and mocked any objection to real deliberation."

Antarctica is the home of penguins, seals, gears, whales and huge crowns.

It is important for scientists to study the functioning of marine ecosystems and to understand the effects of climate change on the ocean.

In 2009, plans were set up to set up a set of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the South Ocean, allowing for the resettlement of marine life between breeding and nutrition areas, but is progressing slowly.

The CCAMLR Summit, which was held each year in Hobart, Australia, was able to create a huge US and New Zealand-supported MPA around the Ross Sea in 2016, covering roughly the territory of Great Britain, Germany and France.

Just as the huge Weddell Sea Shrine, this year, the two additional proposals for Eastern Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula of West Antarctica were broken. The three zones together cover nearly three million square kilometers.

Andrea Kavanagh, head of Pew's Charity Trust in South Antarctica and South America, describes that MPA designation is not "deterrent".

"Without Antarctic Antarctica without MPA, the critical nutrition grounds of Emperor and Adelie penguins, teeth and many other species will not be preserved," he said in a statement.

The CCAMLR issued a statement that the new MPAs 'have been subject to many controversy' and will be reconsidered next year.


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