World’s Largest Marine Park Created

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24 countries and the European Union agreed to create the world’s largest marine park in the Antarctic Ocean.

The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, in a meeting at Hobart, Australia decided that the Ross Sea marine park would be protected from commercial fishing for 35 years.

Fishing will be banned completely in 1.1 million square km (425,000 square miles) of the Ross Sea, while areas designated as research zones will allow for some fishing for krill and sawfish.

The Ross Sea is seen as one of the world’s most ecologically important oceans. It cover a massive 1.55 million square km (600,000 square miles) of ocean.

The sanctuary will cover more than 12 percent of the Southern Ocean, which is home to more than 10,000 species including most of the world’s penguins, whales, seabirds, colossal squid and Antarctic tooth fish.

Scientists and activists described the agreement as a historic milestone in global efforts to protect marine diversity.

The Ross Sea Region MPA will safeguard one of the last unspoiled ocean wilderness areas on the planet – home to unparalleled marine biodiversity and thriving communities of penguins, seals, whales, seabirds, and fish.

The 25-member commission, which includes Russia, China, the United States and the European Union, requires unanimous support for decisions.

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