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.
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.
Ross Sea becomes Marine Protected Area
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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