In advance of the meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) in Bremerhaven, Germany, Ocean Elders wrote to each Member of the Commission to call for increased protection of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean.
Dear Members of the Commission,
The fates of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean are being discussed at the forthcoming special intersessional meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) on the 15-16 July 2013 in Bremerhaven, Germany. The key issue for discussion is the long awaited establishment of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the Southern Ocean.
We as Ocean Elders are highly concerned that the notion of time limits on MPAs has been introduced into the discussion. Such short term thinking ignores global standards, experience, and scientific evidence. As defined by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Marine Protected Areas are commitments for perpetuity. The proposals already include provisions for appropriate review mechanisms over time to insure against knowledge gaps and allow for adaptive management responses and decisions.
Individual MPAs and MPA networks in their entirety should be permanent commitments, particularly in areas where ecosystem health will be highly impacted by climate change and ocean acidification and in areas with fragile, slow growing, vulnerable species, such as the Southern Ocean. The suggestion of time limits is genuinely at odds with the spirit and objectives underlying CCAMLR goals on MPAs, and counter to the responsibility of countries to conserve Antarctic marine living resources.
We hope your country will take the necessary steps to support the establishment of permanent MPAs without time limits as the only right solution in the Southern Ocean. We thank you for your attention to this critical matter.
Ocean Elders, HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, Sir Richard Branson, Jackson Browne, James Cameron, Dr. Rita Colwell, Jean-Michel Cousteau, Dr. Sylvia Earle, Graeme Kelleher, Sven Lindblad, Her Majesty Queen Noor, Nainoa Thompson, Captain Don Walsh, and Neil Young