Protect Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems in the Atlantic

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Target: The Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR)

Goal: Urge designation of Marine Protected Areas in the Atlantic

From July 11-16 2013, plans to designate two marine protected areas (MPAs) came to a halt in a special meeting of the European Union and 24 member countries to the CCAMLR, an international body responsible for managing the living marine resources of the Atlantic Ocean. As defined by the non-profit organization The Last Ocean, MPAs function similarly to national parks, limiting human activity in order to conserve the area’s natural and cultural value. If the CCAMLR delivered this July on their commitment to designating an MPA network by 2012, the two MPAs would have become the largest marine preserves on the planet.

According to Claire Christian of the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition, the Russian delegation to CCAMLR allegedly hindered progress to designate more MPAs in the July meeting, raising unfounded objections to legalities with which they never before took issue. In fact, the CCAMLR are well within their rights to establish MPAs, and have already established the first high seas MPAs in the South Orkney Islands, part of a progressive decision for which the World Wildlife Fund recognized them with a “Gift to Earth” award in 2010.

As commercial fishing interests entered the mix and political will fell short, we may realize how the CCAMLR’s pledge went unfulfilled. Now, we must recognize the responsibility we have toward preventing the loss of something we can never regain –one of the last truly pristine ecosystems on the planet according to many scientists.

A chance at redemption comes this October 2013 when decision makers come together for their regular annual meeting, this time in Hobart, Australia. Until then, make your voice heard. Let us tolerate no longer attempts to endanger one of our most precious and vulnerable natural gifts. Insist the CCAMLR move forward with the planned marine protected areas to maintain the Atlantic as a place of ecological bounty, scientific study and peaceful cooperation.


Dear Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR),

The failure to designate marine protected areas (MPAs) in the Atlantic must be redeemed come your meeting in Hobart, Australia, this October 2013. I am writing to stress the immense ecological, scientific, and cultural value of the Atlantic marine ecosystems and to urge you to take a stand against attempts to endanger this most precious natural gift.

Your commitment to establishing a network of MPAs by 2012 must be fulfilled in order to protect the last truly pristine ecosystem on Earth according to many scientists. Please consider the consequences of the non-consensus this July 11-16, and begin preparing to accomplish what you set out to do. You are our best hope for maintaining the Atlantic as home to vast ecological bounty, scientific study, and peaceful cooperation for generations to come.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: fotopedia

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