Plan for ocean sanctuaries
SYDNEY — Multi-nation talks on forming two vast sanctuaries in Antarctic waters began yesterday with a key official saying a marine reserve protecting the pristine Ross Sea had the better chance of success. The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) meeting in Hobart brings together 24 nations and the EU to try to agree plans for conserving marine ecosystems in the Southern Ocean. At stake, say environmentalists, is an ocean wilderness that is home to 16,000 known species, including whales, seals, albatrosses, penguins and unique species of fish. Proposals for having two huge Marine Protected Areas — both of which failed to be agreed to at a special meeting in Germany in July at which Russia made objections — are on the table. But the United States-New Zealand proposal for a protected zone in the Ross Sea, the deep bay on Antarctica’s Pacific side, is considered the best hope after its size was reduced.