Protection areas in the Southern Ocean from a Scientific Point of Views
The protection of large areas in the Southern Ocean will contribute to achieving the international goal of establishing a representative network of marine protected areas (MPAs), which covers at least 10% of the world’s oceans. Such MPAs would increase the protection of the unique marine ecosystems in Antarctica and, at the same time, boost the global percentage of marine protected areas, which currently is still below 2%.
Following an initial success in establishing an MPA south of the South Shetland Islands in 2009, the negotiations of large MPAs in the Ross Sea and a network of MPAs in East Antarctica under the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) have stalled because of different interests by member states. The results of scientific research can make essential contributions to the success of further talks.
However, it has to be ensured that independent scientific research can be carried out in MPAs after their adoption, e.g. to investigate the effects of climate change on the protected areas and to adapt the conservation objectives accordingly.