Protecting the Ross Sea

A curious minke whale spy hopping in the waters off Antarctica.IFAW has been a proud member of the Antarctic Ocean Alliance which has worked tirelessly to secure protection for the 1,550,000 square kilometers of marine environment, but we couldn’t have done it without your ongoing support! Below is a guest blog from the Antarctic Ocean Alliance team. --RK

The Ross Sea, off the coast of Antarctica in the Southern Ocean and home to important populations of penguins, albatross, seals and killer whales, is now protected.

At a time when the world seems more intent on destruction and polarisation, it is inspiring that major geopolitical players like the United States, Russia, China, the EU and twenty-one other countries could join together and agree by consensus to protect this special place.

The decision was made last month at the annual meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Living Marine Resources (CCAMLR) in Hobart, Australia. The Southern Ocean is wild and tumultuous, but also extraordinarily rich and healthy - a jewel deserving of the greatest protection we can afford.

Once again, Antarctica has proven to be the one place on Planet Earth that we can agree on. The Antarctic Treaty was negotiated during the height of the Cold War and is now considered to be one of the most successful examples of diplomacy of the modern era.

At a time when the world needs urgent action to protect the environmental resources we all depend on, Antarctica is a glimmer of hope, lighting the path required for protection of the ocean and planet. Indeed, the decision to protect Antarctica’s Ross Sea shows what we can achieve when countries unite.

What’s next for Antarctica’s Southern Ocean?

The successful race to protect Antarctica’s Ross Sea is just the first step of the marathon campaign that lays ahead of us. While the Ross Sea marine protection is big, it is just one patch in the quilt of the Southern Ocean.

The Ross Sea is the first in what we hope will be the world’s largest network of marine protected areas. Next in line are proposals to protect East Antarctic waters, the Weddell Sea, and the waters off the Antarctic Peninsula. The United States and New Zealand now hand the baton over to the new proponent countries including the European Union, France, Australia, Germany, Argentina and Chile. It is now up to these nations to lead on negotiations with the 25 CCAMLR governments and secure a system of marine protected areas in the Southern Ocean.

To do that, they will need the continued support of global citizens like you. Together with our partners around the world such as IFAW, we are in this race for the long haul, and we hope you’ll be in it with us.

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Experts

Azzedine Downes,IFAW President and CEO
President and Chief Executive Officer
Beth Allgood, US Country Director
US Country Director
Cynthia Milburn, Director, Animal Welfare Outreach & Education
Senior Advisor, Policy Development
Dr. Joseph Okori
Regional Director, Southern Africa and Program Director, Landscape Conservation
Faye Cuevas, Esq.
Senior Vice President
Grace Ge Gabriel, Regional Director, Asia
Regional Director, Asia
Executive Vice President
Executive Vice President
Patrick Ramage, Program Director, Whales
Program Director, Marine Conservation
Rikkert Reijnen, Program Director, Wildlife Crime
Program Director, Wildlife Crime