Kremlin to Consider U.S. Proposal on Antarctic Reserve

Check out this story in The Moscow Times 19 September 2012

This is a wake up call for Brownlee, Carter, Joyce and whoever else thought that it was a good idea to turn our backs on the opportunity to work with the US on joint proposal for marine protection in the Ross Sea. In rejecting the US we run the risk of assigning ourselves to the back of the stand where we will watch the main game unfold – this article is proof that is starting to happen right now.

New Zealand should be the game makers here. Instead – and embarrassingly – these latest developments tell us that the US and Russia have a far better understanding of the natural value the Ross Sea has in a global context than the NZ Government.

According to this article written by the NZ Herald, the main reason for NZ rejecting the US proposal was because it displaced too much of our fishing effort and not in line with our economic development. The other reason given was that NZ felt the proposal was too ambitious for other fishing nations (like Russia) to accept. Well someone in needs to be doing a lot more homework because that is clearly not the case. In terms of it being over ambitious, that way of thinking is that it is based on fear of failure instead of belief in what is right – it’s like throwing in the towel before round one has begun.

I do hope the three wise men of cabinet who put the short term profits ahead of this unprecedented opportunity to protect the Ross Sea now have the courage (and foresight) to re-assess NZ’s position before heading to CCAMLR. This is our big chance to show the world that we are who we say we are – a courageous, conservation minded country, neighbours and guardians of the great global treasure that is the Ross Sea.

Weddell Seal and Pup under the Ross Sea Ice. Photo John Weller

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