In a global campaign against climate change, a wildlife reserve has been planned for Antarctica with fishing-free zone to help protect species such as penguins and whales.
A global campaign has been launched to turn a huge area of the sea around the Antarctic into the world’s biggest sanctuary. The aim of the reserve is to protect wildlife and help the fight against climate change.
The 1.8m sq km reserve would ban all fishing in the area of the Weddell Sea and around the Antarctic Peninsula, protecting the many species including penguins, killer whales, leopard seals and blue whales.
The idea was put forward by the European Union and is being backed by Greenpeace through a new campaign, and already has the support of several countries.
Will McCallum, from Greenpeace’s new Protect the Antarctic campaign, said: “The next few years are absolutely essential for the future of our oceans and we are in desperate need for governments to come together and do what is best for these amazing ecosystems.”
The sanctuary would help stop industrial-scale krill fishing in the area, which scientists have argued is decimating key food for larger animals.
Russia, Norway, South Korea and China are all big players in Krill fishing and campaigners say the success of the proposal will depend on these countries backing the idea for the reserve.
McCallum said: “World leaders shouldn’t allow an ocean wilderness to be exploited by a handful of companies. In the 1980s it took a global movement to protect the Antarctic’s land. Now we need to protect its oceans.”
Greenpeace are to set off on a three-month expedition to the Antarctic this week, noting that a quarter of a million people already support the idea from different areas of the world.
24 national governments and the EU are members of the commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), which is responsible for the conservation of Antarctic waters.
With the seas around Antarctica being some of the most important in the world with a huge diversity of species, campaigners hope the sanctuary will build momentum towards a UN ambition to create a network of marine protected areas over international waters.