Ross Sea marine reserve on NZ’s political radar

Over the past eight weeks the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (who represent New Zealand’s interest in Antarctica) have run a series of stakeholder meetings for parties interested in marine protection for the Ross Sea.

These meetings involved NGOs including Last Ocean, ECO, Greenpeace and WWF; government scientists, fishing industry representatives and other interested groups. Carolyn Schwalger, head of the Antarctic Policy Unit for MFAT, chaired the meetings.

Attending the meetings on behalf of the Last Ocean was Peter Young and Peter Wilson; they presented the view that the Ross Sea has more value as an intact marine ecosystem than as a fishing ground. They also expressed our desire to see the entire Ross Sea continental shelf and slope protected in order to preserve the area’s unique biodiversity and intact qualities.

The Last Ocean Trust supports the proposal presented to CCAMLR by the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition (ASOC). This proposal is supported by two scientific papers that provide strong evidence as to why the Ross Sea shelf and slope should be protected. You can learn more about this at www.lastocean.co.nz and get involved by sending a letter to the relevant ministers.

(ps. do you want to tell the world why you think the Ross Sea is special? Enter our short film competition. There are awesome prizes up for grabs! Entries close August 12, 2011)

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