East Antarctica Marine Protected Area remains priority for Australia

CCAMLR building in Hobart, Tasmania
36th annual meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) will be held in Hobart.
Antarctic krillDavis station and Vestfold Hills

Australia’s CCAMLR Commissioner Ms Gillian Slocum, said while Australia will be pursuing a number of objectives at the meeting, a revised East Antarctic Marine Protected Area proposal is back on the table after a number of attempts to have it adopted by the Commission.

“Together with the European Union we have further revised the proposal, clarifying where different fishing activities can occur and simplifying the objectives to make conservation outcomes clearer,” Ms Slocum said.

“We were heartened last year when the Commission adopted the Ross Sea Region Marine Protected Area.

“It is important we build on this momentum to create a system of marine protected areas to help us monitor and understand the effects of fishing and climate change on Antarctic and Southern Ocean ecosystems,” Ms Slocum said.

In another climate related initiative at this year’s Commission meeting, Ms Slocum said Australia hoped CCAMLR would adopt a “Climate Change Response Work Program” to improve consideration of climate change impacts in the work of the Commission.

“This initiative will allow CCAMLR to maximise its actions — both now and in the future — from current research into climate change. This will then feed into management responses and future priorities,” Ms Slocum said.

Another key priority for Australia is to seek agreement on a harmonised approach to fishing for toothfish. Australia is looking to work with other CCAMLR Members to make some important revisions to conservation measures to ensure the sustainability of all fisheries targeting toothfish.

Australia is also supporting measures to improve the CCAMLR inspection system for fishing vessels and the establishment of a CCAMLR Bureau to enable more efficient and effective delivery and deliberation of CCAMLR business.

The CCAMLR meeting continues until 27 October.