This year, we can secure the largest act of ocean protection in history.
2020 marks the 200th anniversary of the discovery of Antarctica. It is also the year when the highest temperatures ever were recorded on the continent. With melting ice, warming waters, and increased fishing, all of the creatures that live there need us more than ever. But we need Antarctica just as much. This vast icy continent is critical to stabilizing our climate, and it circulates vital ocean nutrients that sustain fish populations, and humans, all over the world.
While nations work to address climate change, we can act now to secure the creation of three vast marine sanctuaries in the Southern Ocean.
This October, delegations are considering three new marine protected areas (MPAs) at the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) meeting. Together, the East Antarctica, Antarctic Peninsula, and Weddell Sea MPAs would protect almost 1 percent of the ocean globally by covering approximately four million square kilometers and represent the largest act of ocean protection in history.
At a time when vital Antarctic ecosystems are being impacted by a warming planet, continued inaction is not an option.
What happens on and around this remote continent will impact communities across the world, especially those already disproportionately suffering from the devastating consequences of climate change and rising sea levels, such as coastal communities and small island nations. Leading ocean conservation organizations—including the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition, Antarctica 2020, Ocean Unite, Only One, The Pew Charitable Trusts, and SeaLegacy—are coming together to advocate for action this year, and we need your help. Join us in celebrating the 200th anniversary of the discovery of Antarctica by protecting it for future generations.