Countries reach agreement to create world’s largest marine reserve

Countries reach agreement to create world’s largest marine reserve

The proposal to create the world’s largest marine reserve to protect Antarctica took a big leap forward on Friday, when Russia dropped its long-held opposition.

The countries involved in the plan reached the historic agreement after years of diplomatic wrangling and high-level talks between the United States and Russia, which had long been opposing the plan.

Evan Bloom, who led the US delegation at the meeting, said, “We had a lot of talks with them. Secretary (John) Kerry reached out to Russian President (Vladimir) Putin and (Foreign Minister Sergei) Lavrov and I think that helped a great deal to convince Russia to come on board.”

The agreement was reached after two dozen countries and the EU met in Hobart, Australia, earlier this week. The proposed marine reserve would cover an area roughly twice the size of Texas in the Ross Sea.
Representatives of the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) said it would cover 1.55 million square kilometers (600,000 square miles), of which nearly 1.12 million square kilometers will be a no fishing zone.

The U.S. and New Zealand had been urging other countries to support the plan for years, since it was introduced in 2012. But the plan was rejected five times before yesterday’s agreement

The deal is the first step in what would become a worldwide network of marine reserves that would help protect Antarctica and the surrounding oceans.


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