Several environmental pressure groups urged an international body sworn to protect Antarctic marine wildlife to make haste to create marine protected areas to ensure biodiversity amid accelerating climate changeMOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 21st October, 2019) Several environmental pressure groups urged an international body sworn to protect Antarctic marine wildlife to make haste to create marine protected areas to ensure biodiversity amid accelerating climate change.
The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) is gathering on the Australian island of Tasmania from October 21 to November 1 to consider ways of protecting marine ecosystems in the Southern Ocean while allowing reasonable fishing.
"To date, CCAMLR has failed to achieve its own commitment, or to respond adequately to the global climate and biodiversity crises," Claire Christian, executive director of the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition, said in a statement.
CCAMLR was expected to designate areas by 2012 that would provide refuge for different species and allow them to reproduce. But opposition from member states prevented it from making progress. This year, it will debate designating East Antarctica, the Weddell Sea and the Antarctic Peninsula as protected areas.
Frida Bengtsson of Greenpeace's Protect the Antarctic campaign said CCAMLR missed the opportunity last year to create what she described as the largest protected area on Earth, leaving wildlife there exposed to overfishing, pollution and climate change.
"We are in the middle of a climate emergency, and this time we just can't get it wrong. We urgently need to protect the Weddell Sea by creating ocean sanctuaries free from harmful human activities for marine life to recover," she said.
Chris Johnson, WWF's Antarctic Programme lead, said now is the time to make the "right decisions" to protect the areas that are crucial to giving the nature space to adapt to climate change.
Environmentalists have been calling for action to protect all kinds of Antarctic species from tiny krill to whales. The Southern Ocean is home to 10,000 species, many of which are unique to it. It is also the Earth's major carbon dioxide dump that helps slow down global warming.