At the moment the 24 nations and the EU who are a member of CCAMLR (the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources) are together in Hobart for their annual meeting. During last years meeting the plans were finalised for the Ross Sea MPA, the largest Marine Protected Area in the world. Nature conservation organisations hope this will be the beginning of a series of MPAs protecting the seas around the continent. Plans are made for MPAs in East Antarctica and the Weddell Sea (and probably other areas as well). These MPA’s are essential to protect the marine life in those areas. Fisheries are getting more and more present in those waters and could take a crucial part of the biomass out of the water. Many of the life cycles of the fishes are poorly known, so the effect of the catches on the population can also be poorly estimated.
Hopefully, CCAMLR continues the way they started last year and manage to come to a consensus about the other proposed MPAs. Though decision making by CCAMLR is a very complicated process. All nations have to agree before a decision is made. So it can take quite a long time before we hear about new decisions. The meeting continues until the 20th, so I guess we’ll know soon.