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Tell the Antarctic Ocean Commission: Create an Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary

Sign the petition

The petition to the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources reads:

"Protect the Antarctic and its wildlife from the threats of overfishing, plastic pollution and climate change. Create an Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary."

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    Tell the Antarctic Ocean Commission: Create an Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary

    In just three months, a global commission will come together and vote on whether to create the largest wildlife preserve on Earth. If approved, the Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary would protect an area five times the size of Germany – combating the growing threats of overfishing, plastic pollution and climate change.

    This week, this ambitious vision became much more likely. After a long-running campaign from Greenpeace and allies, nearly every krill fishing company agreed to abandon operations in huge areas around the Antarctic Peninsula.1 Overfishing for krill is threatening the food supply for whales, seals and penguins.

    With the krill fishing industry on board, the campaign to create an ocean sanctuary in the Antarctic has gained major momentum. The European Union and Germany are backing the proposal as well. With enough public pressure on the rest of the countries who participate in the Antarctic Ocean commission, we can make this plan a reality.

    Tell the Antarctic Ocean Commission: Create an Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary.

    Life in the Antarctic, from the largest animal ever to exist – the blue whale – to the smallest fish, relies on tiny shrimp-like creatures called krill.2 But industrial fishing companies have been overfishing Antarctic krill, which threatens the entire ecosystem.

    On July 9, a group of the largest krill fishing companies agreed to voluntarily stop fishing in sensitive areas in the Weddell Sea and around the Antarctic Peninsula by 2020.3 Fishing companies will also observe “buffer zones” around breeding colonies of penguins.

    The next step is to permanently protect these areas. The benefits of an Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary would be global. Not only would the nearly 700,000 square mile proposed sanctuary create an urgently needed safe zone for penguins, whales, seals and other Antarctic wildlife, it would increase food security and sustain a healthy ocean that can soak up carbon dioxide and help tackle climate change.

    We have until October to convince world leaders to protect the ocean at the bottom of our planet.

    Tell the Antarctic Ocean Commission: Create an Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary.

    References:

    1. Josh Gabbatiss, "Krill fishing industry backs massive Antarctic ocean sanctuary to protect penguins, seals and whales," The Independent, July 10, 2018.
    2. Greenpeace, "Create an Antarctic sanctuary," accessed July 12, 2018.
    3. Gabbatiss, "Krill fishing industry backs massive Antarctic ocean sanctuary to protect penguins, seals and whales."

    photo: tunart/Getty Images