Today, Federal environment Minister, Sussan Ley, announced that support is growing for three proposed MPAs (Marine Protected Areas) in Antarctica.
But after years of talks being stalled, and Russia and China still blocking consensus, limited marine protected areas is too little, too late for the Southern Ocean and Antarctic coastline.
“While an MPA system is laudable, the world’s oceans are in crisis. Now is not the time to make small incremental changes, now is the time to take decisive action for our oceans. We need to protect the entire Southern Ocean, the Antarctica coastlines, and the sub-Antarctic islands. That’s why we are calling for an end to all fishing in the Southern Ocean” said Alistair Allan, Antarctic campaigner at the Bob Brown Foundation.
“Today, ironically, while there are news stories about protecting the Antarctic, the Australian longline vessel Antarctic Aurora arrived in Hobart. After setting 60,000 hooks on kilometres of line in the Southern Ocean, this ship is returning to unload its catch of Patagonian and Antarctic toothfish. Unbelievably, this is deemed ‘sustainable’ by Australia and under the current CCAMLR system.”
“We shouldn’t forget that the Australian government spent untold amounts, that they will not disclose, to do everything they could to stall the Great Barrier Reef as being listed “In Danger”. They want to drill for gas off the coasts of NSW and VIC and continue to approve new coal mines, rushing us ever closer to irreversible climate change. With krill hatch rates projected to drop by as much as 50% due to global warming, and with huge factory trawlers hoovering them up in the Antarctic despite krill being the foundation of the Antarctic ecosystem, a series of MPAs is not going to cut it. We need to protect the entire Southern Ocean and end all fishing in Antarctica to give it a fighting chance.”