What a shame that proposals at the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) meeting in Bremerhaven for the two largest ocean sanctuaries in the world in the Antarctic Ocean were blocked by the Russian delegation. Instead of losing hope, let’s redouble our efforts and fortify the belief that we can protect these pristine waters for future generations. Our next big opportunity to apply positive pressure to the fate of the Antarctic will be in Hobart this October. Let’s pounce on the opportunity.
We at Mission Blue were blown away by the energy and dedication of the Antarctic Ocean Alliance (AOA) in their campaign to influence CCAMLR to create this important Marine Protected Area — Hope Spot — to build a healthy Antarctic Ocean for the future. They called the Russian delegation’s blocking of the proposal “the loss of an extraordinary opportunity to protect the global marine environment for future generations.” So true. Yet, with this lost opportunity, we must keep a sharp eye on the future to find a new one.
According to sources on the ground, the delegations grew frustrated by Russia’s actions, including those from China and Korea. Russia wasted precious time and diverted significant attention away from discussions of these enormous potential Hope Spots.
US Secretary of State John Kerry said, “We’ll soon get another bite at the apple and a formulation for protecting the Ross Sea can and will be found, period,” he said. “Yes, the road has been harder than we hoped. But I am pleased that so many countries were willing to work together towards this crucial objective.”
That’s the spirit! And, we stand with the AOA when they say: “Game over. For now. Until Hobart – when we win.” If we keep the hope alive, we can together protect these Hope Spots, seeds of tomorrow’s healthy ocean.