by Gareth Hughes
The Ross Sea is one of the most pristine ecosystems on earth, and its vitally important we keep it that way for the health of our oceans.
That’s why it was so disappointing to see New Zealand’s proposal for an ineffective Marine Protected Area (MPA) released yesterday, which amounts to more of a fishing protection area.
I asked Foreign Minister Murray McCully in Parliament yesterday if he drew the lines himself because they carefully avoid the core biodiversity hot spots and main toothfish fishing. He said he didn’t himself, I can only presume the fishing industry did it for him.
The Antarctic Ocean Alliance released maps yesterday that show that New Zealand’s proposal will maintain the status quo, leaving the majority of the Ross Sea’s biodiversity hotspots and the most heavily fished areas open and vulnerable to exploitation.
In releasing this proposal the New Zealand Government have also rejected a proposal put forward by the United States which would see far more critically important areas of the Ross Sea protected.
There are two important steps we can all take to ensure the Government steps up to the plate and supports greater marine protection in the Ross Sea.
First of all, you can sign the Antarctic Ocean Alliance petition which calls for effective protection of the world’s great ‘last ocean’.
Secondly, we can all email Murray McCully at email@example.com and tell him that we want the most critical areas of the Ross Sea protected and we want New Zealand to be a leader on the issue of marine protection.