Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Russia Blocks Proposal for Antarctic Wildlife Reserve

Russia and Ukraine have blocked a proposal for creating an expansive marine wildlife reserve in the Antarctic because they contest the authority of the organizing commission, a US foundation said Tuesday. The proposal, initiated by the United States and New Zealand, envisioned a 1.6 million square kilometer (600,000 square mile) reserve in the Ross Sea, a deep Antarctic bay south of the Pacific Ocean. Such a conservation area would equal about 70 percent of the amount of global ocean that is currently fully protected, The Pew Charitable Trusts foundation, which has backed the marine wildlife reserve effort, said in a press release. However, at a meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, of which Russia is a founding member, the country’s delegation said further clarification was needed to determine whether the body was legally able to establish marine protected areas in the Ross Sea.

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