HOBART (dpa-AFX) – Despite the conference extension and tough struggles, this year’s conference of the Antarctic Commission CCAMLR was again unable to agree on the designation of new marine protected areas. The meeting, which began on Tuesday and was only held virtually for the first time due to the corona pandemic, did not bring any progress with regard to the establishment of what is still the world’s largest marine reserve in the species-rich Weddell Sea. The federal government and many other states have been campaigning for the protected area for years. China and Russia blocked the proposal again this year.
“China and Russia are acting irresponsibly. Both countries refuse to protect the fragile habitat of the Antarctic and want to continue to exploit it ruthlessly,” commented Greenpeace marine biologist Thilo Maack on the outcome of the conference. Both countries are putting the future of the southern Arctic Sea at risk. “In the next year, the protection of the Antarctic must become a priority at the highest political level, including for the federal government. We cannot afford to fail again,” said Maack.
The WWF also criticized the CAMLR Commission for having missed another chance to place one of the last, almost untouched regions of the ocean under special protection: “In view of climate change and the biodiversity crisis, the unique ecosystems, habitats and species in the Southern Ocean are effectively protected indispensable “, emphasized WWF marine protection expert Tim Packeiser. The Bundestag recently voted unanimously in favor of the plans to protect the 2.8 million square kilometers, very species-rich Weddell Sea.
The “Convention for the Conservation of Living Marine Life in the Antarctic”, based in Hobart, Australia, was launched in 1980. The Commission consists of 25 Member States and the EU. All decisions must be made unanimously./cfn/DP/he