The Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources is an international treaty that was adopted at the Conference on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources which met at Canberra, Australia, 7–20 May 1980.
It is a multilateral response to concerns that unregulated increases in krill catches in the Southern Ocean could be detrimental for Antarctic marine ecosystems particularly for seabirds, seals, whales and fish that depend on krill for food.
Recognising the importance of conserving living marine resources in the Southern Ocean the CAMLR Convention consists of:
- 33 Articles,
- an annex relating to an arbitration tribunal, and
- a statement by the Chairman of the Conference on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, regarding the application of the CAMLR Convention to the waters adjacent to Kerguelen and Crozet over which France has jurisdiction and to waters adjacent to other islands within the area to which the Convention applies over which the existence of State sovereignty is recognised by all Contracting Parties.
In addition to its focus on conservation of Antarctic marine living resources, the CAMLR Convention describes:
- its relationship to the Antarctic Treaty
- its area of application
- the institutional structure of the organisation it establishes with a focus on the
- considerations in relation to international cooperation
The CAMLR Convention applies to all Antarctic populations of finfish, molluscs, crustacean and sea birds found south of the Antarctic Convergence (the Convention Area). The marine resources managed by CCAMLR specifically exclude whales and seals, which are the subject of other conventions – namely, the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling and the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Seals.
The Commission meets annually to, among other matters, adopt conservation measures and other decisions which apply to harvesting activities within the Convention Area. The Commission is also responsible for the financial affairs and administration of the organisation.
The Convention establishes a Scientific Committee which provides scientific advice to a Commission.
The CAMLR Convention text provides explicit guidance on the relationship between the CAMLR Convention and the Antarctic Treaty.
In addition to cooperating with the two institutions implementing the conventions relating to seals and whales, CCAMLR cooperates with other multilateral organisations with a particular interest in those responsible for the conservation and management of marine resources in ocean areas contiguous with the CAMLR Convention Area.