A leaked document to journalist Michael Field revealed that New Zealand was to veto full protection of the Ross Sea. His subsequent article makes grim reading for those wanting to protect this remarkable piece of ocean – but take heart in the fact that the lines of this MPA are yet to be fixed. According to sources within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) , New Zealand’s proposal for a Ross Sea MPA is still a work in progress. While this article highlights the challenge we face in shifting the Government’s position, it by no means spells the end of our opportunity to make a difference.
I’m sure politicians do listen to the people that put them there and what this article highlights is the need to take our message to the public, where I believe common sense is on our side. It’s not rocket science – DON’T DESTROY the world’s LAST UNTOUCHED OCEAN. Fishing, undoubtedly will.
What value do we place on protecting this last wild ocean? Is it worth the few million a few companies make by selling toothfish to fine dining restaurants and Casinos in North America? It will keep money flowing into economies for a little longer – but take a moment to consider the cost. The real cost of this catch is not what’s found in the markets, it’s what’s lost in the Ross Sea.
A few years of fishing will destroy what nature has built over millions of years. Ben Halpern’s Global map of human impact on the world’s oceans found the Ross Sea to be the most pristine piece of ocean on our planet. We now know. Given the state of the world’s oceans and the planet, the reality is we can no longer afford to NOT protect these last wild places.
As a documentary cameraman, I have filmed on every continent on Earth, from Serringetti to Siberia, from Himalaya to the deep water canyons of Kaikoura. Believe me, the Ross Sea Ecosystem is one of the world’s great natural treasures and fully deserves full protection.
Michael Field’s article should be a call to action. We know New Zealand’s likely stance and we know we have limited time to change that. CCAMLR, the organisation that provides Governance over the Ross Sea will decide on the extent of marine protection in the Ross Sea in November 2012. New Zealand is a key player in that decision making process. So please make your thoughts known, tell a friend, sign our petition, write to the NZ Minister involved or your local MP.
In 1996 New Zealand lead the charge into this fishery – we should now lead the charge out by supporting the proposal to protect the entire Ross Sea – the last (near) intact marine ecosystem on Earth.
In two weeks time I begin editing my Last Ocean documentary. It will bring the story of the Ross Sea (and the campaign to protect it), to the big screen and hopefully to a big international audience. I will keep you posted on the film’s developments, in the meantime enjoy these words of wisdom from Antarctic Scientist Stacy Kim, Executive Director of ASOC James Barnes and Ocean Campaigner, Ted recipient, National Geographic Explorer, and much much more… Sylvia Earl.