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Southern Ocean Photo: Robert Pitman – National Science Foundation Office of Polar Programs
By Natasha Lasky, ODP Contributing Writer
An alliance of conservation groups has combined forces to advocate at the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), which manages the ocean around Antarctica, in favor of creating at its virtual meeting this year a trio of marine protected areas (MPAs) covering 1.5 million square miles, or 1% of the world’s ocean.These MPAs would ban industrial krill fishing, help preserve the region’s biodiversity, slow the effects of climate change, and bring the world closer to preserving 30% of the world’s ocean space by 2030. National Geographic wildlife photographer and co-founder of SeaLegacy, Cristina Mittermeier, said “If these three marine protected areas … [are] created at the same time, it would form the largest marine protection in the history of humanity.”
Why this Matters: The Southern Ocean is vital in regulating the world’s climate — its “conveyer belt” of currents keep Antarctica cold while keeping the rest of the world warm. The Southern Ocean also absorbs heat and carbon, a huge factor in mitigating the effects of climate change. In addition, the ocean surrounding Antarctica houses over 15,000 species. Mittermeier, summed up the significance of these MPAs toMongabay: “The way that Antarctica goes, so does the world. And the reason for protecting Antarctica is not just to protect krill, but to buy us time … because these protections will lend resiliency to the whole ocean system to buy us time while we curb emissions.”
It’s not just men in the fishing sector who are impacted by climate change, overfishing, and COVID-19 — women are too. Women like Alexia Jaurez of Sonora, Mexico, who is featured in this Environmental Defense Fund video, do the important work of monitoring the catch and the price, and most importantly determining how many more […]
By Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer Last summer, Florida created its first aquatic preserve in over 30 years. The Nature Coast Aquatic Preserve protects about 400,000 acres of seagrass just north of Tampa on Florida’s Gulf coast. These are part of the Gulf of Mexico’s largest seagrass bed and borders other existing preserves, creating a […]
A new study has found that whale songs can be a powerful tool for mapping the ocean floor. Seismic testing done by humans can harm whales and other marine life, but by using whale songs instead, scientists believe the practice can be adapted to be much less harmful to marine populations.
Why This Matters: For years, the fossil fuel industry has hauled “seismic guns” behind large boats, blasting loud, harmful bursts of sound that disturb sea life and impair the sonar of animals like whales and dolphins.
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