The Governor of Tasmania, Her Excellency Professor the Honourable Kate Warner AC, will today open the thirty-sixth annual meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).
The Governor will welcome some 250 marine scientists, resource managers and policy makers representing 25 international delegations, who will review current practice and consider new measures to conserve and manage marine ecosystems in the Southern Ocean.
Representatives from other Contracting Parties as well as intergovernmental, environmental and industry organisations will also participate in the meetings as official observers, adding their voices to the issues under discussion.
Following CCAMLR’s landmark decision in 2016 to establish the world’s largest marine protected area in the Ross Sea, this year’s CCAMLR meetings will:
- finalise/adopt the Research and Monitoring Plan for the Ross Sea region MPA
- review proposals to continue establishing a representative system of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the East Antarctic region and the Weddell Sea
- review a new proposal from Chile and Argentina regarding a proposed MPA in the Western Antarctic Peninsula – South Scotia Arc
- consider renewing the existing arrangement with the five marine rescue coordination centres with responsibilities for Southern Ocean search and rescue (SAR) to release CCAMLR vessel monitoring data to support a SAR incident
- report on the results of the second performance review of CCAMLR, a comprehensive review of CCAMLR’s progress and success against a range of criteria
- report on the establishment of a new special area for scientific study where a huge iceberg broke free from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in West Antarctica
- appoint a new Executive Secretary to lead the CCAMLR Secretariat for an initial period of four years
CCAMLR is a consensus-based organisation consisting of 25 Members (24 countries and the European Union). The Member responsible for chairing the Commission meeting changes every two years. This year, for the first time, the Commission meeting will be chaired by South Africa.
Representing the nation as Chair is Dr Monde Mayekiso, a diplomat of many years’ standing, and long-term delegate to CCAMLR. One of his first tasks as Chair was to accept an international award on behalf of CCAMLR. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) awarded CCAMLR the Margarita Lizárraga Medal for serving with distinction in the application of the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries.
“Recognition associated with an award such as the Margarita Lizárraga Medal not only confirms that past efforts have been valuable and appreciated by the international community but provides additional motivation to continue those endeavours,” said Dr Mayekiso.
The Commission meeting considers scientific data and recommendations from its Scientific Committee which has supported the meetings of several expert specialist groups throughout the year. This year, the Scientific Committee will once again be chaired by Dr Mark Belchier from the United Kingdom.
“At this year’s meetings of the Scientific Committee and Commission, CCAMLR Members will continue to work collaboratively to find mutually acceptable outcomes to a range of challenges to take CCAMLR’s management of the Southern Ocean into the future,” said Dr Belchier.
Since 1982, with the support of the Tasmanian State and Australian Commonwealth Government, the CCAMLR Secretariat has been located in Hobart, where it maintains an office of 25 staff. The annual meetings of CCAMLR provide a valuable contribution to the local economy.
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