Next step for Southern Ocean Conservation: [Designating] Marine Protected Areas for Eastern Antarctica

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The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) has been considering a proposal for an East Antarctica Representative System of Marine Protected Areas (EARSMPA) since 2012. With the designation of the Ross Sea region marine protected area in October 2016, CCAMLR demonstrated its ability to adopt large scale marine protected areas (MPAs) in the Southern Ocean. Failure by CCAMLR members to designate the EARSMPA in 2017 could make the Ross Sea MPA stand out as a conservation exception and threaten to erode the commitment CCAMLR made early on to adopt a system of MPAs in the area under its responsibility. In this document we summarise the EARSMPA proposal, including the main arguments used against the proposal and the changes it has experienced over the years, and contend that it should be next in line for adoption.

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