Strong opposition to sanctuaries

At the end of October, a meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Living Marine Resources in the Antarctic took place. Biologist Thomas Dahlgren served as Sweden’s representative on the scientific committee:

Thomas Dahlgren

”Many countries have shown a great interest in developing fisheries in Antarctica. This is partly because ice is disappearing, making new fishing areas available. Because no single country is responsible for the Antarctic, we need a committee that can protect, monitor and preserve marine plants and animals in the Southern Ocean”.

INCLUDED IN THE MEETING were representatives from 24 countries and the European Union (25 members in all) who have signed the convention. Observers from industry and organisations such as the World Wildlife Fund and Greenpeace also participated. One of the items in the meeting dealt with creating the world’s largest marine sanctuary.

Why do we need this type of protected area?
“One important reason is the need to protect fishery resources so that they will also remain in the future. The sanctuaries protect particularly sensitive areas and ecosystems, too. We also need them to enhance the ecosystem’s resilience to climate change.”

What did the meeting achieve?
“The proposal for sanctuaries encountered great opposition from China and Russia, and to some extent also from Norway. For them to allow passage of enhanced protection of the Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica will require a greater commitment from the other member states at the highest political level.”