Antarctica discovered 200 years ago…More marine conservation overdue!


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Looking back, it seems only fitting that a Russian, Adm. Fabian von Bellingshausen, was the first person to sight Antarctica…200 years ago. In fact, on Jan. 27, 1820.

Now, the 25 member governments of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Living Marine Resources [CCAMLR], which governs human activity in the Southern Ocean, should honor the anniversary of von Bellingshausen’s discovery and the spirit of the treaty with a renewed push to protect the Southern Ocean.

This marine environment and the species that live there face unprecedented threats, led by climate change…Fortunately, CCAMLR already has proposals on the table for the creation of three MPAs—in East Antarctica…the Weddell Sea, and the Antarctic Peninsula. Each would safeguard critical foraging and nursery grounds for Southern Ocean species, including seals, whales, and penguins, and preserve the region’s essential function as a carbon sink.

The great Antarctic explorers and the signatories of the 1959 treaty have their names etched in history, and by doing the right thing this year, CCAMLR members could join them.

I’ll second that emotion.

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