Historic Deal Will Open World's Largest Marine Reserve
Negotiations between nations lead to good news for the creatures who call the Ross Sea in the Antarctic home.
The world's largest marine reserve aimed at protecting the pristine wilderness of Antarctica will be created after a "momentous" agreement was finally reached on October 28, 2016 with Russia dropping its long-held opposition. The agreement comes after years of diplomatic wrangling and high-level talks between the U.S. and Russia, which has rejected the idea in the past.
The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, meeting in Hobart, Australia, said the Ross Sea marine park will be protected from fishing for 35 years.
The Ross Sea is seen as one of the world's most ecologically important oceans. The sanctuary will cover more than 12 percent of the Southern Ocean, which is home to more than 10,000 species including most of the world's penguins, whales, seabirds, colossal squid and Antarctic tooth fish.
An adelie penguin on pack ice in the Ross Sea in Antarctica. New Zealand's Foreign Minister Murray McCully said the final agreement included some concessions to Russia, including adjusting the reserve's boundaries and allowing a little more commercial fishing outside the no-take zone.
A line of penguins on Inexpressible Island, as the ship, HMS Protector, patrols the area, in Terra Nova Bay, Victoria Land, Antarctica.
Pictured above is Pack ice in the Ross Sea, Antarctica.
A man exploring an iceberg frozen into the surface of the McMurdo Sound in the Ross Sea Region of Antarctica.
A boat passes through the pack ice in the Ross Sea.
A colony of emperor penguins, Aptenodytes forsteri, in deep twilight, Cape Roget, Ross Sea, Antarctica.
The Concordia station in Antarctica, east of the Ross Sea, makes for a unique location and attractive place for scientists to conduct research.
For nine months, no aircraft or land vehicles can reach the station, temperatures drop to -80 degrees Celcius and the Sun does not rise above the horizon for 100 days. Living and working in these conditions is similar in many respects to living on another planet.