The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) gathered to define new maritime protected areas (MPAs).
To meet the commitment to protect at least 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030, the creation of three MPAs have been suggested. This commitment was made at the Montreal conference in 2022.
They expect to be set up in the East Antarctic, Weddell Sea and Antarctic Peninsula.
The main objective is to create sanctuaries around Antarctica to limit climate change impacts and to protect ocean ecosystems. Nearly four million square kilometers of ocean will be then protected from human activity. Antarctic krill, for example, is an essential component of the marine life cycle. Melting ice has a direct impact on the presence of krill at sea, the first link in the marine food chain.
However, no agreement has been reached. China and Russia are delaying action. They have repeatedly requested additional data, and have slown down the process since Australia’s first proposal in 2010.
CCAMLR comprises 27 member countries, mostly from the European Union. It includes the United States, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, India, Japan, Chile, Brazil and South Africa. Decisions are taken by consensus. The two countries oppose the will of the other 25 members. They put at risk the environmental balance of the Antarctica and therefore of the globe.