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Emperor penguin
Image: picture-alliance/WILDLIFE/S. Muller

Antarctic marine conservation park talks break down

November 2, 2019

An international effort to create enormous marine sanctuaries around Antarctica has failed for the eighth year in a row. The project aimed to counter climate change and protect fragile ecosystems.


The annual meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), a group of 25 nations and the European Union, struggled to get support from China and Russia, and talks over marine sanctuaries broke down.

The two major world powers have consistently blocked the scheme since Australia and the EU first suggested it in 2010. They scaled the proposals back in 2017 in an effort to get China and Russia on board.

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'Disheartening' news for biodiversity

"With a growing loss of biodiversity and threats from climate change, it's disheartening that CCAMLR has failed to protect east Antarctic waters for the eighth consecutive year," said Andrea Kavanagh, director of Antarctic and Southern Ocean work at The Pew Charitable Trusts.

"Scientists have been clear that marine protection areas are needed to make a warming and acidifying ocean more resilient," she added.

The marine parks would have covered around 3 million square kilometers (1.2 million square miles). The area is home to penguins, seals, toothfish and whales, among others.

The marine parks were "the subject of much discussion" at the talks, but no agreements were made. Officials said that they will make the proposals again next year.

ed/sms (AFP, dpa)

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