This document contributes to the planning process for the designation of a Domain 1 MPA led by Argentina and Chile. The process has resulted in the compilation, analysis, integration and display of a large amount of information, not only contributing to the best science available but also providing a platform for the sharing and visualization of information, highlighting the multinational approach in all stages of the decision making process. In particular, this paper describes the identification of Priority Areas for Conservation (PAC) in Domain 1 - as introduced during the last EMM meeting (WG-EMM-17/23)-, which included exhaustive analyses of hundreds of spatial data layers, extensive calibration of Marxan parameters and consideration of multiple alternative spatial configurations. To assist in the MPA planning process and future management, Domain 1 was thought in terms of three ecoregions (Northwestern and Southwestern Antarctic Peninsula and South Orkney Islands) that differ not only in their morphology, geology and ecology, but also in their current management and resilience to climate change.
The identification of PAC constitutes the initial step towards the development of a Domain 1 MPA that considers both conservation and rational use of marine resources. PAC can also serve other research and management strategies by providing areas where important benthic and pelagic habitats, processes and species spatially coincide, further improving the decision making process.
In this regard, Argentina and Chile propose the Scientific Committee considers the PAC identified in Domain 1 and its relevance to the MPA planning process and other research and management strategies.