Preserve Marine Life in Antartica

Target: Director Tony Fleming of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Resources

Goal: Protect a greater amount of Antarctic marine life

A proposal currently under consideration by the member states of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Resources (CCAMLR) could triple the amount of protected antarctic waters under current maritime law. The areas that the CCAMLR is considering protecting are home to an incredible number of species, including some that are extremely rare. The Commission should strongly consider passing this measure, for the good of the environment and scientific study alike.

The waters included in the proposal are, in total, several times the area of Texas. In this enormous area live a number of rare albatrosses, penguins, seals, and great whales, many of which are unique to the biome. The waters are now only occasionally used for fishing, but noted conservation biologist Alex Rogers warns that ” If we don’t get protection in place now, exploitation of these systems will increase. Even a delay is quite a serious issue.”

Although the CCAMLR rejected a similar suggestion in 2012, supporters of the current proposal are optimistic: the Commission has called an “intercessional meeting” just to discuss the issue, which indicates an extremely high level of interest in its members. Furthermore, the new proposal was drafted by combining two previous conflicting proposals from the U.S. and New Zealand. The compromise is expected to vastly enhance the popularity of the proposal, as members will no longer be forced to side with one or the other nation.

Unfortunately, time is running out for these regions. Antarctic fishing—and the pollution caused by it—increases every day, as does the number of species it adversely effects. We must encourage the CCAMLR to accept this new proposal and protect the Antarctic coastal region, before it is too late.

PETITION LETTER:

A new joint U.S. and New Zealand proposal aims to vastly increase the amount of protected area surrounding the antarctic coast. This ecologically rich area is under constant threat from fishing boats that do tremendous damage to the populations there, and pollute the surrounding waters. This area is home to a variety of rare and endangered species, and to ensure legal protection for them would be a lasting boon to the entire world.

The danger of these rare species being permanently effected by this exploitation increases with each passing day. As such, we would like to urge you to accept the new proposal for the benefit of science and nature alike.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Liam Quinn via Wikimedia Commons

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