Recently, India has extended its support for protecting the Antarctic environment and for co-sponsoring the proposal of the European Union for designating East Antarctica and the Weddell Sea as Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).
- The proposal to designate East Antarctica and the Weddell Sea as MPAs was first put forth to the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) in 2020. But the proposal could not reach a consensus at that time.
- Till then, substantial progress has been made with Australia, Norway, Uruguay and the United Kingdom agreeing to co-sponsor the proposal. Now India will also join these countries in co-sponsoring the MPA proposals.
- This is the first time India is considering co-sponsoring an MPA proposal at the CCAMLR.
Back to Basics
About Weddell Sea
- The Weddell Sea is part of the Southern Ocean and contains the Weddell Gyre.
- Its land boundaries are defined by the bay formed from the coasts of Coats Land and the Antarctic Peninsula.
- Much of the southern part of the sea is covered by a permanent, massive ice shelf field, the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf.
- The sea is contained within the two overlapping Antarctic territorial claims of Argentine Antarctica, the British Antarctic Territory, and also resides partially within the Antarctic Chilean Territory.
- Various ice shelves, including the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf, fringe the Weddell sea.
About Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR)
- CCAMLR is an international treaty to manage Antarctic fisheries to preserve species diversity and stability of the entire Antarctic marine ecosystem.
- It came into force in April 1982.
- India has been a permanent member of the CCAMLR since 1986.
- Work pertaining to the CCAMLR is coordinated in India by the Ministry of Earth Sciences through its attached office, the Centre for Marine Living Resources and Ecology (CMLRE) in Kochi, Kerala.
What is a Marine Protected Area (MPA)?
- An MPA is a marine protected area that provides protection for all or part of its natural resources. Certain activities within an MPA are limited or prohibited to meet specific conservation, habitat protection, ecosystem monitoring, or fisheries management objectives.
- Since 2009, CCAMLR members have developed proposals for MPAs for various regions of the Southern Ocean. CCAMLR’s scientific committee examines these proposals. After CCAMLR members agree upon them, elaborate conservation measures will be set out by CCAMLR.
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