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Russia Blocks Plan For World’s Largest Marine Reserve In Antarctica

Penguins, Ross Sea, Antarctica

Here’s a quick update on the story we reported yesterday. A huge area of ocean surrounding Antarctica could have become the world’s largest marine reserve as a result of a vote by an international conservation commission. However, Russia and Ukraine have together blocked the proposal, maintaining the new reserve would restrict fishing interests in the area.

During the crucial gathering of the Commission for Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, a 25 member group, Russia thwarted the vote by questioning whether the commission had the legal authority to establish the marine reserve. The new reserve would have more than doubled the ocean area currently protected as marine reserves in the world.

The Australian and New Zealand delegations were reported to be surprised and very disappointed with the outcome. However, it’s not actually the first time a vote like this has been shot down. A similar vote was thwarted during talks last year. No doubt yet another attempt will be made to establish a marine reserve in Antarctic at a later date.

Image CC licensed by US Embassy New Zealand: McMurdo Sound, an inlet of the Ross Sea, Antarctica.

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