Foreign Minister welcomes Ross Sea Marine Protected Area

  • Rt Hon Winston Peters
Foreign Affairs

 Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says a remarkable milestone has been achieved with the coming into effect of the Ross Sea marine protected area in the Southern Ocean.


The Ross Sea region MPA, which comes into effect on December 1st, is the result of a joint New Zealand/United States initiative, and will protect an area of the Southern Ocean that is teeming with life.


“The Southern Ocean is one of the world’s most pristine marine environments. It has an unbroken food-chain and still has a full suite of top-level predators such as whales, seals and penguins,” Mr Peters says.


“The Ross Sea region MPA is 1.55 million square kilometres, or six times the size of New Zealand.


“Getting unanimous agreement to create this marine protected area is a significant achievement. It shows what is possible when the research, fishing, environmental, and diplomatic communities work together to address a global problem.


“We will continue to work with others to ensure that this marine protected area contributes to scientific understanding of the Southern Ocean, and the role it plays in regulating the global climate. This includes significant investment by the New Zealand government in scientific study in the Ross Sea region.


“New Zealand is committed to protecting this environment for the benefit of future generations, and maintaining Antarctica and the Southern Ocean for science, conservation and peace,” Mr Peters says. 


The Marine Protected Area was agreed in October 2016 with the consensus of all 25 members of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).  CCAMLR was established by international convention in 1982 with the objective of conserving Antarctic marine life. A joint proposal for a marine protected area in the Ross Sea region was first made by New Zealand and the United States in 2012.