The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources plans to create nine marine reserves around Antarctica.
The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources plans to create nine marine reserves around Antarctica. DEAN LEWINS

Russia stands in way of Antarctic reserve plan

THE only thing preventing marine protected areas from being established in Antarctica is Russia, which faces increasing pressure to agree to the plan.

Over coming weeks in Hobart, 24 countries will meet to decide whether to protect the waters of the Ross Sea and East Antarctica.

The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources plans to create nine marine reserves around Antarctica.

The issue has been before the international committee for more than five years. But despite the years of negotiations, the 24 countries and the European Union that make up the group have not even managed to agree on how to manage the reserves, let alone create any.

The Ross Sea marine reserve is set to be the first, but only if Russia agrees.

Chris Johnson from Worldwide Fund for Nature told the ABC that without marine reserves, important species such as krill and penguins could be at risk from climate change and other impacts.

Cassandra Brooks from Stanford University said too many compromises had been made in the negotiating process, such as limiting the environmental protections to "somewhere between 20 to 50 years”.



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