In late October at its annual meeting, the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources failed again — for the fifth time — to pass a plan to protect key areas in the Ross Sea and in East Antarctica. CCAMLR is a regional fisheries management organization in the Antarctic Ocean comprised of representatives from 25 different countries. In order for conservation measures like protection for the Ross Sea to pass, all 25 countries are required to reach a final consensus.
The Ross Sea is one of the last remaining sections of ocean that has not been harmed by overfishing, pollution or invasive species. The proposed measure would have provided long-term protection of many species, including penguins, seals, and whales and their critical habitats. In addition, the protected areas would act as a living laboratory for scientists to conduct research in this near-pristine ecosystem.
The good news is that China issued a statement of support for a revised Ross Sea Proposal, marking the first time China has not actively blocked the plan. Russia also issued a statement saying it is committed to an inter-sessional discussion of the proposal.
According to an Australian Broadcasting Corporation news article, U.S. State Department delegate Evan Bloom said despite the setback, the joint revised proposal from the United States and New Zealand made progress by getting China on board for the first time with only Russia remaining opposed. Bloom hopes to work with Russia and other countries to try to “finish this off next year,” he said.
Hy-Vee continues to support the creation of a marine protected area in the Ross Sea, and will continue to refuse purchasing Chilean sea bass sourced there. Hy-Vee stands true to its commitment to the Ross Sea. By signing the Ross Sea Pledge, Hy-Vee has given its word that it won’t be part of that developing problem and is, in fact, part of the solution. Hy-Vee supports creation of a Marine Protected Area to protect the area against commercial fishing and pollution. This initiative is broadly supported by governments, scientists, non-governmental organizations and the fishing industry.
By taking a hands-off approach to that species from the Southern Ocean, Hy-Vee joins others in working to reduce the level of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in the Southern Ocean.