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Why Antarctic Waters must be Protected

My main focus this week is on the Global Commons, those  places and elements which belong to the whole world, but, because they don’t belong to any one nation are not well protected. They include the air, the climate, the seas, our heritage of crops and medicinal plants, even our own genes.

Of immediate concern is the Southern Ocean which surrounds Antarctica.  While Antarctica’s landmass is now largely protected, this is not true of the surrounding waters. This year the 25 nations with claims on Antarctica will meet to decide their fate. While these waters contain a great diversity of marine life, they are under increasing pressure from industrial scale fishing and from activities such as deep sea mining.  With “85% of the world's fisheries classified as over exploited, fully exploited, depleted or recovering from depletion," commercial fishing vessels are moving to remote waters such as Antarctica's in search of fish (according to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation). This makes it more important than ever that one area on earth be set aside as a reservoir of biodiversity and where fish stocks can recover.  

 Krill harvesting is another concern, since this is the basis of the entire marine food chain. Krill in the Southern Ocean has fallen by 80% since 1970 and is believed to be the cause of declining penguin populations. Read more
Other threats include the proliferation of garbage and the overarching dangers of global warming. 

The countries which are signatories to the Antarctic Treaty concerning Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) have previously agreed to set aside marine reserves in the area by 2012. In consequence, the Antarctic Ocean Alliance, a coalition of leading environmental and conservation groups is working to establish a network of marine reserves in the Antarctic where no fishing and no industrial activity can take place.  They would like your support to help make this happen and to make sure that the Commission does the right thing given that these meetings take place behind closed doors and there is no media access. Please sign their petition here. 
Tell them we are watching because this issue concerns us all. Participating countries and their address are given below, should you want to drop them a line personally. 

Whales and Seals are covered under separate legal frameworks.  Although whaling  was banned in 1986, Japan continues to defy the ban and along with Iceland and Norway, continues to try to overturn it. Although this year’s whale hunt was cut short by the brave volunteers from Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, law enforcement should not be left up to a handful of brave activists in small boats. We need to strengthen these laws and ensure that they are backed up much more forcefully. Of course this becomes difficult when the UN is starved of funds due to the new ruling allowing voluntary contributions, rather than a percentage of GDP. These matters also need to be addressed.

Some related petitions
Petition to WWF stop Krill Harvesting
Petition to Japanese government to release Dutch Sea Shepherd Volunteer arrested in Japan for photographing dolphins being unloaded
This is another petition for his release directed to the Embassies of Japan and the Netherlands
Petition to UN to stop Deep Sea Mining

Further reading/action
CLICK on this site daily to save oceans

Address  for (Commission for the Conservation of Antarctica’s Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) and Member countries and signatories to this Convention

 Executive Secretary
Commission on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR)
P O Box 213
North Hobart
Telephone: (+61) 3 62101111
Fax: (+61) 3 62248744

States party to the Convention but not members of the Commission: Bulgaria, Canada, Cook Islands, Finland, Greece, Mauritius, Netherlands, Peru, Vanuatu.
For the latest list of members and State parties and their contact details, please consult the CCAMLR Web site: Structure



Anonymous said…
Heya anglers. I suspected that I should certainly present myself here.
I'm genuinely anticipating talking with every body in regards to sportfishing.