Antarctica, the largest marine reserve in the world will not be made

The plan of long-running multinational negotiations was rejected to create the largest marine park in the world in the Southern Ocean at Antarctica, one of the most important ecosystems on Earth. This is the disappointing outcome of the last annual meeting of members of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (Ccamlr) - 24 countries including Italy plus the European Union - which was held in recent days in Hobart in Tasmania.
Blocking the plan, which was proposed in 2014 and approved in principle in 2016, was the veto of Russia, China and Norway, which have an intense fishing activity in the region. According to the plan, more than 1.5 million sq km of the Ross Sea would have been protected, including 1.1 million sq km, equal to the combined area of ​​Spain and France, reserved as a "general protection zone", with an absolute ban on fishing to safeguard species including penguins, orca whales, blue whales and leopard seals.

The protection was considered urgent given the importance, for the natural resources of the entire planet, of the Southern Ocean, which according to estimates produces about three quarters of the nutrients that sustain life in the rest of the oceans. According to experts, it also played a key role in tackling climate change, as the seas around Antarctica absorb huge amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere. 

The environmental groups reacted with dismay, mobilizing two million people to support the plan. 

"It was a historic opportunity to create the largest protected area on earth, protecting wildlife, tackling climate change and improving global ocean health," said Frida Bengtsson of the Greenpeace 'Protect the Antarctic' campaign.

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