Ross Sea Will Soon Be The World's Largest Marine Protected Area

The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources — known as CCAMLR — has announced that the Antarctic's Ross Sea will soon be the largest marine conservation in the world. The marine protected area (MPA) at Ross Sea will cover 1.55 million square kilometers from certain human activities in order to help researchers meet specific goals, including things like fisheries management and conservation. Most of the regions will ban fishing, though exceptions will be made for scientific endeavors.

CCAMLR made the announcement last week, saying the plan stems from a proposal made by the United States and New Zealand. All CCAMLR member countries have agreed to the proposal, and as such the Ross Sea will become the largest marine preserve in December 2017.

Of the 1.55 million square kilometers, 72-percent will outright ban fishing activities of all sorts. The remaining sections will allow krill and fish gathering activities for research purposes for those who have a permit. Most other human activities will be entirely banned in this region, or limited when applicable.

Though this is the first time many people are hearing about the proposal, the plans have been under way for several years, with the US and New Zealand having first proposed it back in 2011. According to CCAMLR's executive secretary Andrew Wright, some details still need to be finalized. However, the establishment of this plan is itself a huge step. The US and New Zealand will be 'facilitating' the negotiations and finalizations of the finer details.

Once in place, the marine protected area will help protect the nursery areas and habitats of many creatures, sites that are culturally and historically significant, biodiversity, and certain marine species. As well, it will provide space for rebuilding fish stocks and keeping an eye on various ecosystems, among other things.

SOURCE: CCAMLR