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About twenty years after the Antartic Treaty was put in place Russian vessels began targeting krill, a keystone species in the oceans around the continent. Concerned nations formed the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) as a means to manage the marine resources. The Commission formally came into force in 1982 and is now 25 nations strong.


The commission is charged with managing Antarctica's living marine resources (with the exception of seals and whales) south of 60°S and operates under a powerful set of conservation clauses, such as Article II, which states

  • Marine resources shall not be over harvested (fish and krill populations must be large enough that they remain stable over the long term)
  • Marine ecosystems and the ecological relationships between harvested species must remain intact
  • To ensure the sustained conservation of Antarctic marine living resources, CCAMLR should take into account the direct and indirect impacts of harvesting, introduced species, or environmental change

To initiate an exploratory Ross Sea toothfish fishery, New Zealand applied for (and received) consent through CCAMLR.


The CCAMLR commission meets in Hobart Australia every year to decide on the Ross Sea quota for Antarctic toothfish.© Peter Young



The Ross Sea, the most pristine marine ecosystem on Earth. © John Weller


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