CCAMLR meeting

An octopus glides through an underwater garden of corals, sponges and starfish in the Southern Ocean.
An octopus (left of image) glides through an underwater garden of corals, sponges and starfish in the Southern Ocean. (Photo: AAD)

The 34th annual meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) was held in Hobart from 19–30 October 2015. The Australian delegation was led by the Director of the Australian Antarctic Division Dr Nick Gales and included officers from across the Australian Government and representatives from the Australian fishing industry, environmental non-government organisations and state and territory governments.

One of the key initiatives for Australia again was the proposal for a marine protected area in East Antarctica. Although consensus could not be achieved on the proposal, important progress was made. China indicated its willingness to progress the Ross Sea Region Marine Protected Area proposal, which we hope will be a catalyst to seeking agreement on the East Antarctic Marine Protected Area proposal.

Key achievements for Australia included:

  • Agreement to a joint proposal by Australia and Norway to establish a climate change focused group to provide information and develop advice and recommendations on how to integrate climate change considerations into the work of the Commission. Australia and Norway will lead this work in 2016.
  • Agreement to a resolution on Vessels without Nationality. Actions called for by Contracting Parties include prohibition of landing and transhipping of catch, access to ports and strengthening legal, operational and institutional capacity.
  • The Commission continued its work on the orderly and precautionary development of the krill fishery with discussion on increasing observer coverage in the fishery and continuing negotiations on developing a feedback management system.
  • Securing a biennial stock assessment for the Heard Island and McDonald Islands toothfish fishery and endorsement of associated finfish bycatch and seabird mitigation measures.