Tuesday, October 11, 2011

NZ vetoes the last ocean

The Ross Sea is the last significantly unexploited ocean on the planet. It is free of pollution, invasive species, mining and overfishing. Currently, the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, the international body in charge of Antarctica's marine resources, is planning a series of marine protected areas to keep it that way. But there's a fly in the ointment: New Zealand:

New Zealand is set to veto any attempt to completely protect the world's last unexploited ocean - so a lucrative fishing industry can continue operating.

An official New Zealand document leaked to Fairfax reveals Wellington, backed by the US, does not want the whole 650,000 km2 Ross Sea declared a marine protected area (MPA), despite a 25-nation convention saying it is "of high global importance".

Maps in the document written by the Ministry of Fisheries show a large area of the Ross Sea is excluded from a marine park. It means the fishing industry can keep taking toothfish, discovered by New Zealand in 1996, worth $18 million a year.

And so National pisses away a bit more of our environmental reputation, in order to protect the "right" of a few to make money by ruining our last pristine marine environment and fishing a species to extinction.