Marine protected areas (MPAs) are the ocean equivalent of national parks. They limit human impact to protect the biodiversity and the natural and cultural values of an area.
The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) is the
international body charged with managing the living marine resources around Antarctica. They have made a commitment to designate a network of MPAs by 2012 and the Ross Sea has been identified as one of these areas.
The Last Ocean believes the only way to fully protect the Ross Sea ecosystem is to
stop commercial fishing and have the entire Ross Sea, including the continental shelf and slope,
designated as an MPA. The Trust has joined scientists and environmental organisations from all over the
world to campaign for this.
Fishing nations, including New Zealand and the UK, are likely to oppose this level of protection.
The aim of The Last Ocean is to raise enough public and political pressure to swing CCAMLR member nations, starting with New Zealand, from a position of supporting commercial fishing to supporting full protection of the Ross Sea ecosystem.
Weddell seals give birth to their pups from early September through to November. After 6–7 weeks they are weaned and begin to hunt independently.
© John Weller.