The 29th of October 2016 was an important day for the Ross Sea and Antarctica as a whole. After years of negotiations, the nations organised in CCAMLR reached consensus on the first Marine Protected Area (MPA) in Antarctic waters. There are plans for a whole ring of MPA’s around Antarctica but implementation of this is difficult as the 24 nations and the European Union who are member of CCAMLR can only reach agreement if all members reach consensus. This first MPA (the largest in the world with a no-catch zone over three times as large as all the other MPA’s in the world combined) is a good start and hopefully the beginning of more.
But it also raises the question, why all this fuzz about a sea where nobody goes? What’s so special about the Ross Sea? And isn’t the Ross Sea protected already by the Antarctic Treaty?
In the following series of blog posts I try to answer some of these questions and so I hope to show why the Ross Sea is so special.