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Antarctic marine protection blocked by Russia

Russia representatives have blocked proposals to create the two largest ocean sanctuaries in the world in the Antarctic.  The Russian delegation were taking part in this week’s special Commission for the Conservation on Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) meeting in Germany, which concluded today with no progress on two proposals to designate a 2.3 million square kilometres marine protected area (MPA) in the Ross Sea, and a cluster of seven marine protected areas in East Antarctica, covering about 1.63 million square kilometres.

The Russian delegation, with support from the Ukraine, raised legal issues as to whether CCAMLR has the authority to establish marine protected areas (MPAs). As a result, a decision failed to be reached meaning that an extraordinary opportunity to protect the global marine environment for future generations has been temporarily lost.

“We are hugely disappointed that Russia and other countries have essentially blocked the negotiations. In this way, a great opportunity to act in favor of marine conservation was wasted”, says Fabian Ritter from WDC.

WDC has supported the campaign to establish these protected sea areas, joining more than 1.3 million people around the world who have called for action, and it is hoped that a positive decision can be made at the next meeting in Australia later in the year.