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An icy ocean to save.

This month, Eco-Sys Action has joined up with the Antarctic Ocean Alliance, and it is not by accident.  Despite its remoteness and the handful of scientists that live there, the “icy planet” has never been in such danger.  

Far from the first expeditions to the South Pole and the ruthless marathon between Amundsen and Scott, the race against time that the Antarctic is now facing is much riskier.  An international accord aimed to protect the Antarctic region as a natural reserve for peace and science included a ban on mining and petroleum extraction, however this protection does not extend to the sensitive marine environment, leaving it in imminent danger.  

Representing 10% of the planet's oceans, the Southern Ocean is home to some 10 000 species, many endemic.  Among this exceptional fauna: Adélie and emperor penguins, Antarctic petrels, minke whales, Ross Sea killer whales, colossal squid, and Weddell seals.

The over exploitation of the world's fisheries has pushed commercial fishing vessels from around the world to the remote waters of Antarctica, leading to the same threats already seen in other marine environments around the world.  Often using unregulated fishing methods and deep sea gillnets, which are a threat to all marine life, this industry is unsustainable.  Krill, an essential link in the food chain, has already suffered a significant decline in numbers due to its demand as a health supplement and use as food for fish farms.

In 2012, the future of the Antarctic Ocean will be decided by 25 countries.  The most progressive idea is the creation of the largest network of protected marine reserves in the world in the Ross Sea.  A drastic example that can then become a symbol of intelligent conservation for the entire planet!