Russia, Ukraine again block global efforts for Southern Ocean Marine Protection – Antarctic Ocean Alliance
HOBART, 1 November 2013
The partners of the Antarctic Ocean Alliance (AOA) today said that the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) missed an historic opportunity due to blocking by Russia and the Ukraine again to protect key Antarctic marine habitats at its annual meeting in Hobart calling into question its ability to deliver on its conservation commitments.
The 24 nations and the EU that make up CCAMLR had two proposals for the Ross Sea and
East Antarctic coastal region on the table but, like the body’s special meeting in Germany in
July, Russia and Ukraine actively blocked the two proposals, with China withdrawing support for
the East Antarctic proposal.
“Sadly, although most CCAMLR Members were ready to move forward to designate significant
marine protection here, Russia and the Ukraine once again blocked all efforts to negotiate an
outcome,” said Jim Barnes, Executive Director of the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition
(ASOC). “We applaud the hard work of the United States, New Zealand, Australia, the European
Union and France over the last three years to promote solid Antarctic marine protected
proposals in Antarctica.”
“The question of whether CCAMLR can deliver on its conservation mandate is in very serious
doubt after another disappointing failure at this year’s meeting,” said Steve Campbell, AOA
Campaign Director. “CCAMLR does not meet again for another year, and each meeting without
designating marine protection diminishes hopes that CCAMLR can meet its important
"What we have witnessed over the last few years is the steady erosion of the spirit and mandate
of CCAMLR to conserve our last intact ocean ecosystem remaining on earth,” said Farah
Obaidullah, Greenpeace International Oceans Campaigner. “This year's failure denigrates the
reputation of CCAMLR and is symptomatic of a dangerous global trend where corporate and
political interests override any genuine efforts to protect the oceans for the sake of future
"Many of the Asian countries with fishing interests in the Southern Ocean have been supportive
of establishing MPAs in Antarctica waters so it is a great disappointment that we are coming
away from CCAMLR again with no agreement,” said Yuri Onodera of Friends of the Earth Japan.
“All nations need to realise the critical importance of large-scale ocean protection if we are to
ensure healthy oceans for our collective future."
"This is a dark day not just for the Antarctic, but for the world's oceans,” said Andrea Kavanagh,
director of the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Southern Ocean sanctuaries project. “This was the international community’s third attempt to protect some of the most pristine ocean areas on
Earth, but self interest got in the way once again. The scientific basis to create these reserves is
overwhelming. The stubborn self interest of a few should not be allowed to deny the will of the
majority of countries around the world.”
The two marine protection area (MPA) proposals that CCAMLR failed to pass were a US and
New Zealand proposal for a Ross Sea MPA of 1.32 million km2 with a 1.25 million km2 area notake
zone, and a proposal from Australia, France and the EU for an East Antarctic MPA network
of 1.6 million km2 in which future fishing activities would have to be approved by consensus.
The Southern Ocean is home to more than 10,000 unique species including most of the world’s
penguins, whales, seabirds, colossal squid and the remarkable Antarctic toothfish – the main
target of fishing companies in the region. The Southern Ocean is a crucial area for scientific
research, both for studying how intact marine ecosystems function and for determining the
impacts of global climate change.
More than 1.3 million people around the world have joined the global call for large-scale marine
protection in Antarctica over the last three years and thousands have taken action through on
line petitions, social media and email’s to key world leaders to call for protection.
The Antarctic Ocean Alliance partners will continue to press the countries failing to support
Southern Ocean marine protected areas and will attend the next CCAMLR meeting in Hobart in
2014 to ensure that CCAMLR delivers on its conservation commitments. The AOA has identified
around 40% of the Southern Ocean that warrants protection.
Blair Palese, AOA: firstname.lastname@example.org m: +61 (0) 414 659 511
Mona Samari, AOA: email@example.com, +61 (0) 458 537 990
Paul Sheridan, Pew: firstname.lastname@example.org, +61 (0) 410 516 656
Jim Barnes, ASOC: email@example.com, +61 (0) 459 391 884
Farah Obaidullah, Greenpeace: firstname.lastname@example.org, +61 (0) 413 161 702
Note: High-resolution photos and a video news release are available at:
Twitter: #Antarcticocean, #JointheWatch
About: The Antarctic Ocean Alliance is a coalition of high-profile individuals such as actor and
UN Biodiversity Ambassador Edward Norton, actor Leonardo DiCaprio, Oceanographer Dr.
Sylvia Earle and entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson as well as 30 leading environmental groups.
These include the Pew Charitable Trusts, Greenpeace, WWF, Humane Society International, the
Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition (ASOC), the Blue Marine Foundation (UK), Mission Blue
(US), Oceans 5 (US), Deep Wave (Germany), The Last Ocean, Forest & Bird (NZ), ECO (NZ),
and associate partners the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the Korean Federation
for Environmental Movement (KFEM), Greenovation Hub (China), Oceana, the International
Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), and Ocean Planet (Australia).