Twenty four United Nations member countries, along with the European Union have decided to make the Antarctic Ocean’s Ross Sea the biggest marine reserve on Earth. The Antarctic Bay is the home of one of the purest ecosystems on our planet. It covers about 600,000 square miles. So the area is almost as big as Alaska. Authorities have put this zone under special protection from any human activity.
Home of many species
CNN announced that this area hosts around 50 per cent of ecotype-C killer whales, 40 per cent of Adelie penguins and 25 per cent of emperor penguins. Even if the proposal for this project came long time ago, only now the countries have agreed to start it. And it will reportedly take effect in December 2017.
Authorities will limit or prohibit certain human activities, in order to protect certain habitats. Also, to ensure specific conservation and to monitor the ecosystem. According to experts, this agreement it is something extremely special. Such a big number of countries have never met with the same purpose. This ecosystem is home of many very important benthic and pelagic habitats, so the world must do everything to protect it.
Fishing prohibited, studies encouraged
Following the agreement, in about 72 per cent of the Antarctic Bay area, authorities are goin to prohibit all fishing activities. The rest of the area (28 per cent) will be considered a scientific research zone. Scientists will be allowed to take samples of fish from this area alone. This will ensure the fact that further studies of the ecosystem will be carried out.
Unfortunately, there is a downside in all this agreement. It will reportedly last for only 35 years. So everything must be done pretty quick in order to preserve the environment of many such endangered species. Although, it is hard to believe that such a short time will be enough to carry studies and to make the necessary efforts, if things go well, it could happen.
Many officials are extremely happy
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said that these countries will do everything to protect the many species living there. This includes penguins, seabirds, whales, Antarctic tooth fish and colossal squid. The Ross Sea covers twelve per cent of the Southern Ocean. A United Nations patron for the ocean said that he feels like finally things are moving. He is very happy with this agreement and considers it a crucial first step towards a better world.
Russia has finally agreed
Reportedly, the negotiations could not be finished because of Russia, who did not agree with the plan at first. But now, after five years, they have come around and decided to join the cause. Their reason was that Russian fishing boats wanted to go in that area to fish sea bass.
A Russia official said that this is a great time for collaboration. Especially considering the conflicts present in the world right now. He also talked about their country’s proud history in Antarctica and the Antarctic Bay. It has to do with Russian exploration and research in that area.
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