Today sees the close of the Thirty-eighth Meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) in Hobart, Australia.
Early in 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. The meetings concluded in the last week of October with the Meeting of the Commission, CCAMLR’s decision-making body.
CCAMLR is a consensus-based organisation consisting of 26 Members (25 countries and the European Union). The Commission meeting was chaired by Mr Fernando Curcio Ruigómez (Spain).
We welcomed the Kingdom of the Netherlands as the 26th Member to the Commission, joining the other 25 participating Members. Representatives from other Contracting Parties as well as intergovernmental, environmental and fishing industry organisations participated as official observers.
Many important issues were discussed. Of particular note:
- This was the second year in which there were no reports of illegal fishing in the Convention Area.
- The Commission agreed to new prohibition of the discharge of plastics and dumping and discharging of oil or fuel products from fishing vessels in the entire Convention Area.
- CCAMLR initiated a major new program to foster capacity building with a General Capacity Building Fund that will support all Contracting Parties, with priority given to those that are least effective in the implementation of their obligations under the Convention. The Commission also expanded the General Science Capacity fund which will support scholarships for young scientists.
- A new survey has estimated that the size of the krill stock in the South Atlantic is 62.6 million tonnes. This is very similar to the krill stock size of 60 million tonnes determined by the last survey in 2000.
- A major new research program will run over the next few years to provide a new approach to managing krill fisheries. The program will focus on regular determination of krill population size in different areas, utilising scientific and fishing vessel-based studies, and will take into account predators and the krill life cycle to ensure that catches remain sustainable.
- The Commission agreed precautionary catch limits for all toothfish fisheries in the Convention Area.
- Research and monitoring plans for existing marine protected areas (MPAs), as well as proposals to establish three new MPAs – in East Antarctica, the Weddell Sea, and the Western Antarctic Peninsula – were the subject of much discussion. Members will continue to work intersessionally on proposals for these MPAs before they are again considered at next year’s meeting.
The Commission welcomed the Prague declaration made by the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Parties and noted the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Antarctic Treaty which will take place on 1 December.
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Email: media [at] ccamlr [dot] org