CCAMLR, the global governing body of the marine life around Antarctica, has decided in principle to establish protected marine parks around the icy continent to protect krill and Patagonian tooth fish. The decision was made at the November 4, 2011, annual member meeting in Hobart Australia. The member countries now have 12 months to submit concrete proposals.
The first marine park was established in 2009. The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR; pronounce “camel-R”) declared the first Marine Protected Area (MPA) to protect foraging areas and unique oceanographic features near the Antarctic Peninsula at the South Orkney Islands. The park is more than 35,000 square miles (90,000 km²).
Australia has proposed six marine parks in East Antarctica of almost one million square kilometers in total. New Zealand and the United States have proposed parks in the Ross Sea, while Britain pushed a system of interim reserves to apply in the event of further ice shelf collapse.
Conservationists are pushing an ambitious plan for 19 Antarctic marine parks. The recently formed Antarctic Ocean Alliance, a group of global environmental groups, welcomed the CCAMLR decision. "They need to lift the scale of their ambition and many countries need to prioritize conservation over resource extraction," said alliance campaign director Steve Campbell in the newspaper The Australian. The alliance includes World Wildlife Fund, Greenpeace and Mission Blue.
The krill oil industry is not fundamentally at odds with the environmentalists. “Azantis welcomes CCAMLR’s decision to establish marine parks, because both as world citizens and as smart businesses we must manage this valuable resource with great care”, said John Schoonbrood, President of the krill oil supplier Azantis Inc. in Boulder Colorado.