Discovering the Ross Sea, Antarctica

Mollie Bassett underwater in BelizeMollie Bassett, a social media and marketing intern with the Last Ocean in the United States, writes about what it was like to first learn about the Ross Sea, Antarctica. Mollie is currently a senior at University of Colorado in Boulder, CO.

I recently began working for the United States branch of the Last Ocean as a social media/marketing intern. The experience so far has been illuminating and intensely educational. I am working with two brilliant people, Cassandra Brooks and John Weller. These two people are working tirelessly to spread the word about numerous areas of the ocean that need our help, particularly the Ross Sea, Antarctica. They use art, science, and news to promote global ocean awareness and I am honored to be working with them. They have changed my way of thinking about our oceans in such a remarkable way.

Adélie Penguin on Pack Ice (photo by John B Weller)

Growing up, I went to Cape Cod, Massachusetts every summer where I swam in the crisp waves and enjoyed an abundance of fresh lobster rolls. As many people do, I took it for granted. I have always had a connection to the Ocean, and now it goes even deeper. Now, not only do I enjoy the leisurely activities that our beautiful oceans provide, but I am also starting to grasp the vast intricacies of our seas. They are in trouble and desperately need our help.

When I started at the Last Ocean I learned about the Ross Sea, Antarctica for the first time. I was alarmed to learn that the Ross Sea is considered by many scientists as the most pristine marine ecosystem left on our planet. It is one of the only areas of ocean that is still mostly unharmed by human activities. As you can probably imagine this sort of thing has created much controversy in environmental groups all over the world. Many organizations want to make the Ross Sea a marine reserve, which would mean that it would legally become protected against human impact.

Killer Whale and the Royal Society Range (photo by John B Weller)

Unfortunately, not everyone is on board with these ideas. In the late 1990s New Zealand fisherman started fishing for “Chilean sea bass” or Toothfish in the Ross Sea. Chilean Sea Bass is a fancy name that restaurants can put on their menus instead of “Toothfish,” which doesn’t sound as appetizing. After more than a decade of fishing, scientists are now concerned that toothfish are beginning to decline – like many other species in our seas they are likely being overfished.

The wonder of the Ross Sea has very much sparked my attention. I truly believe that this phenomenon of a still untouched and biologically diverse ocean is precious to our planet and needs all of our attention in order to make a change. We need to save this area from the annihilation that has caused irreparable damage to so much of our planet.

Seastars and Anchor Ice (photo by John B Weller)

I invite you to stay tuned to our blog, and check out our Facebook page to inform yourself. Please follow us as we continue to grow and educationally make an impact. Hopefully more people will become as inspired by protecting the Ross Sea just as I was. Knowledge is a powerful tool and I am truly excited to learn more! Thanks for reading!

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