Australia campaigns to protect Southern Ocean

30 September 2021

Australia is redoubling efforts to preserve marine ecosystems in the Southern Ocean, launching an international video campaign to push for an expanded system of large scale Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).

Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley this evening addressed a European Union hosted ministerial meeting of 19 countries, including France, the UK, US and New Zealand, who are pressing for the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) to adopt the MPAs as it prepares for its 40th anniversary meeting next month.

Minister Ley told the meeting that a representative system of MPAs in the Southern Ocean should be established as a matter of urgency and welcomed India, the Republic of Korea and the Ukraine as the latest in a growing list of international supporters.

“Australia and France (co-sponsoring under the EU banner) were the architects of the East Antarctic MPA proposal underpinned by decades of scientific research. The proposal was first presented to CCAMLR in 2012 and it is important that we persevere to build consensus and provide collective leadership for the long-term conservation and sustainability of the Southern Ocean,” Minister Ley said.

“Australia and the EU are now welcoming an increasing number of nations advocating for greater protection of the Southern Ocean by co-sponsoring MPA proposals in East Antarctica and the Weddell Sea. We also fully support the Antarctic Peninsula MPA proposal.

“A representative system of MPAs in the Southern Ocean will be a critical tool in managing the effects of climate change on our oceans, along with the health of marine life and our environment.  

“To achieve these outcomes we need consensus from all CCAMLR nations and we need the patience to persist. 

“The Morrison Government is committed to international leadership in protecting the health of our oceans and is investing $100 million in practical measures through our Oceans Leadership package.”