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Pristine area of Antarctic Ocean receives protection

December 1, 2017 - ANTARCTICA,

A 1.5 million sq km area of the Ross Sea off the Antarctic coast comes under protection as the world's biggest marine reserve. Commercial fishing will be banned from the entire area, while 28 per cent of it is to be designated solely for research

National Geographic Magazine reports that the new reserve, which will remain protected for 35 years, was created by a unanimous decision in Hobart, Australia, of the international body that oversees the waters around Antarctica. The United States and the European Union are among the 24 members of the body, the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources.

In the research zone, scientists can catch limited amounts of fish and krill, tiny invertebrates that provide food for whales, penguins, seals and other animals. The area features underwater mountains that are habitats and foraging areas for mammals, birds and fish. These include Weddell seals, killer whales and emperor penguins.

The commission also renewed, for five years, a measure that limits fishing for krill, a crustacean that is vital to the Antarctic ecosystem.

World's Largest Marine Reserve Created Off Antarctica (Nat. Geo. 27 Oct 2016)

Coast of Antarctica Will Host World's Largest Marine Reserve (NYT 27 Oct 2016)

Date written/update: 2016-11-02