Building the World

World’s Largest Marine Reserve


Penguins on iceberg in Antarctic. Image: wikimedia commons.

In a watermark of history, 1.57m sq km (600,000 sq miles) of the Southern Ocean, considered to be perhaps the Earth’s most pristine marine environment, have become the world’s largest marine reserve. Nations gathered to approve the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources‘ protection of the Ross Sea. It’s only 2% of the vast Southern Ocean, but home to 38% of the world’s Adélie penguins, and other marine life. Some of the deepest areas send nutrients into the currents circling the globe. Lewis Pugh was there. United Nations Patron for the Oceans, the activist athlete undertook a series of swims termed “speedo diplomacy.” Pugh is also the first person to swim the seven seas. The Ross Sea is a time-limited agreement, however: some nations wanted just 20 years, but the parties agreed to 35. Designating nature reserves has been accomplished by individual countries: the National Trails System of the United States is but one example. However, the world’s waters require regional and global agreements.

Innis, Michelle. “Coast of Antarctica Will Host World’s Largest Marine Reserve.” 27 October 2016. The New York Times.

McGrath, Matt. “World’s largest marine protected area declared in Antarctica. 28 October 2016.

Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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