The 36th annual Meetings of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) in Hobart have come to a close. These reports are now available on the CCAMLR website.
At the start of October, scientists met to review the status and trends of fish stocks regulated by CCAMLR. The Scientific Committee subsequently reviewed the outcomes of that meeting, together with several other specialist working groups responsible for monitoring ecosystems in the Southern Ocean with a focus on krill. The meetings concluded in the last week of October with the Meeting of the Commission, CCAMLR’s decision-making body.
Following last year’s agreement to form the world’s largest marine protected area (MPA) in the Ross Sea region, three major MPA proposals were considered by the Meetings this year. A revised proposal for an MPA in East Antarctica by Australia, France and the EU was the subject of much discussion.
A new proposal for an MPA in the Antarctic Peninsula region was also examined and Germany reported on the significant work that had been undertaken during the year to assimilate all available scientific information to support a proposal to be considered at future Meetings for an MPA in the Weddell Sea.
Proponents of these MPA proposals will continue discussions over the next 12 months before they are again considered at next year’s annual meetings.
CCAMLR Chair, Dr Monde Mayekiso (South Africa), points out that these are very complex matters and consensus among Members takes significant time.
“The MPA proposals before the Commission this year were considered carefully by Members.
“The revised proposal for East Antarctica was indeed based on several years of robust research and planning.
“Although many of CCAMLR’s 25 Members considered that the East Antarctic proposal was ready for adoption, there are many complex scientific and geopolitical issues that are brought to bear in these negotiations.
“Consequently, we were not able to achieve consensus to adopt the proposal this year,” said Dr Mayekiso.