US, New Zealand, Reduce Size of Proposed Antarctic Protection Zone

To secure the proposal's passage


New Zealand and the United States have sharply reduced the extent of a proposed protected area in Antarctica's Ross Sea, in a last-ditch effort to secure its acceptance at an international meeting next month.

In a press release, New Zealand emphasized that the new plan — to be presented at next month's annual meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) in Hobart, Australia — would, at a total area of 1.34 million square kilometers, be the largest Marine Protected Area (MPA) in the world. However, the press release added, certain elements of the proposal (an earlier version of which had been rejected at a special CCAMLR meeting in Germany in July) had been altered in response to advice from CCAMLR's Scientific Committee.