Antarctica - from research to policy

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Antarctica - from research to policy

Gepubliceerd op
27 oktober 2016

Researcher Jan Andries van Franeker: "It is a privilege to participate in scientific research in polar areas such as the Antarctic. Translating that knowledge into policy decisions feels less exciting, but is nevertheless rewarding."

In October, biologists Fokje Schaafsma and Jan Andries van Franeker went to Hobart, Tasmanië, Australië. They were not on their way to fascinating Antarctic fieldwork, but attended the international annual meeting of CCAMLR. CCAMLR is the acronym for the ‘Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources’, that is the international fisheries treaty for the Southern Ocean. The conventions popular name ‘Krill Treaty’ directly reflects the link to our research.

Fokje Schaafsma, at the start of the meetings. Fokje received Scholarship funding from CCAMLR to attend its meetings for two years. The funding program aims to stimulate early career scientists to become involved in CCAMLR.
Fokje Schaafsma, at the start of the meetings. Fokje received Scholarship funding from CCAMLR to attend its meetings for two years. The funding program aims to stimulate early career scientists to become involved in CCAMLR.

Advice to the International Commission

During long meetings the scientific committees advise the International Commission on its decision making who can fish when and where, and how much fish can be taken. CCAMLR is a unique treaty, because it not only protects the species harvested (mainly krill and toothfish) but explicitly also protects all dependent species such as seabirds, seals and whales. In that context, CCAMLR also has the task to designate Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the Southern Ocean.

Currently, fisheries for Antarctic krill operate only around the Antarctic Peninsula. Not the total catch of krill is of most concern at the moment, but the fact that fisheries concentrate in small coastal areas, where also breeding penguins of the local krill stocks.
Currently, fisheries for Antarctic krill operate only around the Antarctic Peninsula. Not the total catch of krill is of most concern at the moment, but the fact that fisheries concentrate in small coastal areas, where also breeding penguins of the local krill stocks.
Toothfish can reach a respectable age of around 50 years, when they may grow to over a meter in length and over 100kg body mass.
Toothfish can reach a respectable age of around 50 years, when they may grow to over a meter in length and over 100kg body mass.

Ross Sea becomes Marine Protected Area

CCAMLR meetings are attended by many countries with many delegates and advisers. The meeting room is full!
CCAMLR meetings are attended by many countries with many delegates and advisers. The meeting room is full!

The MPA process is more complex than can be caught in a few words. It is not only biological details, but also politics that play a role. Nevertheless, with a lot of patience, much may be achieved. At this years meeting, after long deliberations, agreement was reached to declare the Ross Sea a Marine Protected Area. Similar MPA proposals are made for other areas, including the Weddell Zee (see the short film below), an area where Wageningen Marine Research conducts much of its research.

Read more about the Ross Sea: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ross_Sea

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