Dear CCAMLR Chair, Delegates and Secretariat,
I am writing to ask for your support in protecting the Ross Sea, Antarctica, the most pristine marine ecosystem on Earth (1).
The Ross Sea is one of the most pristine habitats in the Southern Ocean, and home to many rare and unique animals. The ecosystem offers scientists one of the last opportunities to understand how a healthy marine ecosystem functions.
CCAMLR has made a commitment to designate a network of Marine Protected Areas around Antarctica by 2012. The Ross Sea has already been identified by CCAMLR as warranting protection; the proposal now requires support from key nations.
I urge you, in your official capacity, to support the protection of the entire Ross Sea continental shelf and slope as part of a comprehensive network of Marine Protected Areas in the Southern Ocean.
As CCAMLR is a body that meets with limited public participation and no media access, I feel it's important to speak out for these unique global commons areas and to call for the widest possible protection for Antarctica's oceans. I'll be watching, taking action and asking my networks to do the same.
Please do the right thing and protect Antarctica's oceans for future generations.
*Halpern et al. (2008) A global map of human impact on marine ecosystems. Science 319: 948
The Ross Sea is the most biologically productive marine habitat in the Southern Ocean, and home to many rare and unique animals. The ecosystem is regarded as a ‘living laboratory’ providing scientists with one of the last opportunities to understand how a healthy marine ecosystem functions.
The natural balance of the Ross Sea ecosystem is now under threat from commercial fishing. Since 1996 the New Zealand Government has endorsed fishing for Antarctic toothfish in the Ross Sea, despite little being known about the life cycle of toothfish or the impact fishing is having on the ecosystem.
As the Ross Sea’s nearest neighbour, New Zealand has a responsibility to care for this special part of the world. I urge you, in your official capacity, to support the protection of the Ross Sea ecosystem by endorsing the establishment of a comprehensive no take Marine Protected Area that includes the entire Ross Sea continental shelf and slope.