Exodus: Thousands of Chinese trawlers rushed out into the East China Sea after 3 month fishing moratorium

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I just saw some incredible pictures in the Daily Mail that provide just a hint of the colossal volume of Chinese fishing capacity. The photo- article entitled “Out to lunch: Extraordinary moment thousands of Chinese trawlers head out to sea after three-month ban on fishing is lifted” provides a glimpse of the capacity of chinese fishing capacity, keeping in mind that all of these vessels are departing from one port; Ningbo in Zhejiang Province!

Thousands of Chinese trawlers rushed out into the East China Sea today after a three-month-long summer fishing moratorium ended. 

These incredible images of boats setting out from a harbour in Ningbo, Zhejiang Province, show just why China harvests more fish than any other country.

Although China has one fifth of the world’s population, it consumes a third of the world’s fish – some 50 million tonnes a year.

Casting off: Thousands of Chinese trawlers rush out into the East China Sea at the end of a yearly three-month-long fishing ban designed to allow stocks to recover

Right, plaice, right time: These incredible images of boats setting out from a harbour in  Zhejiang Province, show just why China harvests more fish than any other country

Sprawling and trawling: Although China has one fifth of the world's population, it consumes a third of the world's fish - some 50million tonnes a year

Reeling them in: The worldwide average of fish consumption is just over 16 kilos a year, but in China the average person will get through almost twice that

Every year, there is a three-month ban on fishing to allow stocks to breed and recover, but it has done little to stop a massive decline

The worldwide average of fish consumption is just over 16 kilos a year, but in China the average person will get through almost twice that.

Every year, there is a three-month ban on fishing to allow stocks to breed and recover, but it has done little to stop a massive decline.

Fishermen themselves blame pollution, but environmental experts say overfishing has in particular decimated the numbers of mature adult fish and has made many varieties almost impossible now to find.

For locals in Ningbo, the annual sight of the boats once again setting out into the Pacific Ocean at the start of the fishing season is a good reason for a day trip out. 

Fishermen themselves blame pollution, but environmental experts say overfishing has in particular decimated the numbers of mature adult fish

For locals in Ningbo, the annual sight of the boats once again setting out into the Pacific Ocean at the start of the fishing season is a good reason for a day trip out

But for the fishermen themselves, the start of the season is unlikely to bring good news.

Catches of the four main species – the Japanese Spanish mackerel, eel and the large and small yellow croaker – have plummeted.

In the past, a successful fishing trip might have netted hundreds of kilograms of the large yellow croaker, but according to one captain most fishermen only get a few a year now, meaning prices were now forty or fifty times as much.

Mo Zhaolan, a researcher at China’s Institute of Oceanology, said that overfishing and pollution were having a much bigger impact than a decade ago.

Once large and valuable fish have been overfished, attention turns to a less valuable species, with the process continuing until all species have been over-exploited, fisheries depleted and biodiversity irreparably damaged.

Catches of the four main species ¿ the Japanese Spanish mackerel, eel and the large and small yellow croaker ¿ have plummeted

Fishing boats head out to sea in Ningbo, Zhejiang Province, China after the summer fishing suspension endsFishing boats head out to sea in Ningbo, Zhejiang Province, China after the summer fishing suspension ends
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Bigeye Tuna are overfished say ISSF!

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According to Blank:

The International Seafood Sustainability Foundation’s (ISSF) new Status of the Stocks rating report downgraded Pacific bigeye tuna stocks from a “green” rating — signifying the stock is healthy — to “orange,” meaning the stocks are overfished.

“This year, the stock assessments for both Pacific stocks of bigeye tuna (eastern Pacific and western and central Pacific) showed that the abundance has fallen below the level that would correspond to maximum sustainable yield (MSY),” Victor Restrepo (pictured), VP of science for ISSF, told SeafoodSource. The Pacific bigeye stocks became overfished in 2012 or 2013, he added.

“The reason they became overfished is simply because the exploitation rate is too high. Depending on their natural rates of mortality, growth and reproduction, fish stocks have turnover rates that allow them to replace the biomass lost to fishing, up to a point,” he said.

As a result, catches of Pacific bigeye tuna need to be reduced “to a level commensurate with their turnover capability,” Restrepo said. “This may be hard to do politically, but in concept it is pretty simple. Fishing needs to be managed.”

In addition to Pacific bigeye tuna, 39 percent of all global tuna stocks are overfished, ISSF found, while 52 percent of the all tuna stocks are at a healthy level of abundance, and 9 percent are at an “intermediate level.”

In addition, 17.4 percent of global tuna stocks are being overfished, while 43.5 percent of the stocks are experiencing a low fishing mortality rate, and 39 percent have a high fishing mortality that is being managed adequately, according to ISSF.

“The high rate of overfishing ultimately has to do with too much fishing capacity in the ocean. There are more vessels than are needed to exploit these stocks at the MSY level,” Restrepo said. “On top of that, the decision-making mechanisms at the regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) that manage the stocks tend to be consensus-driven. They are slow, and tend to build in many exemptions and loopholes that make them less effective than they could be.”

Meanwhile, the percentage of the global tuna catch that comes from healthy stocks declined from 91 percent to 86 percent since ISSF’s last report in April 2014.

“When viewed from the point of view of total catch, 86 percent of the catch comes from healthy stocks. This is due to the fact that skipjack stocks contribute more than one half of the global catch of tunas, and they are all in a healthy situation,” according to an ISSF statement.

“In contrast, most bluefin stocks and two out of six albacore stocks are overfished, but combined they make a relatively small fraction of the total catch.”

Bigeye tuna, Thunnus obesus, on ice. Picture source NOAA FishWatch (Wikimedia Commons)

Bigeye tuna, Thunnus obesus, on ice. Picture source NOAA FishWatch (Wikimedia Commons)

New Zealand the 9th State to ratify the FAO Port State Measures Agreement

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New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy today announced that the New Zealand Government has ratified the 2009 UN Food and Agriculture Organisation’s Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing; an agreement designed to fight illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing.

The objective (Article 2) of the PSM Agreement is to:

Prevent, deter and eliminate IUU fishing through the implementation of effective port State measures, and thereby to ensure the long-term conservation and sustainable use of living marine resources and marine ecosystems.”

To view the a PDF of the PSM Agreement click this hyperlink.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation’s (FAO):

The Agreement envisages that parties, in their capacities as port States, will apply the Agreement in an effective manner to foreign vessels when seeking entry to ports or while they are in port. The application of the measures set out in the Agreement will, inter alia, contribute to harmonized port State measures, enhanced regional and international cooperation and block the flow of IUU-caught fish into national and international markets. The Agreement will enter into force 30 days after the deposit of the 25th instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession. The Agreement is binding and stipulates minimum port States measures. However, countries are free to adopt more stringent measures than those outlined in the Agreement.”

New Zealand is the ninth country to ratify the  Port State Measures (PSM) Agreement, which requires 25 ratifications to come into force. So far only eight other states that ratified the PSM Agreement. These States are:

      • Myanmar – (November 22, 2010)
      • Sri Lanka – (January 20, 2011)
      • European Union – (July 7, 2011)
      • Norway – (July 20, 2011)
      • Chile – (August 28, 2012)
      • Uruguay – (February 28, 2013)
      • Seychelles –  (June 19, 2013)
      • Oman – (August 1, 2013)
      • Gabon – (November 15, 2013)

The FAO’s PSM Agreement sets minimum standards for port access by foreign flagged fishing vessels and related support vessels. Adopted in 2009 by the U.N. FAO, the treaty requires parties to exert greater port controls on foreign-flagged vessels, and as a result to keep IUU fish out of the world’s markets by removing incentives for the practice of IUU fishing to continue.

According to a press release by the New Zealand Government, Murray McCully (New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs) said that:

Widespread implementation of the agreement would make it more difficult and less economic to undertake illegal fishing… It would mean New Zealand fishers could operate in high-value international fisheries with less threat of illegal fishers, while ensuring sustainability of the oceans…. 

New Zealand has been at the forefront of international efforts to combat IUU fishing. Ratifying this agreement further cements our commitment.”

Nathan Guy (New Zealand Minister for Primary Industries) said that:

“For New Zealand, it [ the ratification of the PSM Agreement] will mean our fishers can operate in high value international fisheries with less threat of IUU fishers, while ensuring sustainability of our oceans…

Supporting an international framework that enables long-term sustainable use of fisheries resources is important for New Zealand.”

Essentially as the New Zealand Herald so aptly put it,

The Government has signed up to an international fisheries agreement which could [enable it to] block illegal fishers from using New Zealand ports.”

A chase at sea near South Korea: an entire fleet of illegal Chinese fishing vessels attempts to evade the South Korean Coast Guard. Source: World Ocean Review (http://worldoceanreview.com/en/wor-2/fisheries/illegal-fishing/)

A chase at sea near South Korea: an entire fleet of illegal Chinese fishing vessels attempts to evade the South Korean Coast Guard.
Source: World Ocean Review (http://worldoceanreview.com/en/wor-2/fisheries/illegal-fishing/)

South Koreans push back on Accusation that the Korean IUU Fishing Korean Fleet is essentially Government Subsidised

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Atuna reported  that the South Korean government, Dongwon Industries, and other tuna fisheries companies are under fire for failing to take pre-emptive steps to prevent the European Union (EU) preliminary listing of Korea as a country engaged in illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing (IUUF) (see Gov’t Subsidized IUU Fishing By Korean Fleet?). On 26 November 2013, the European Commission handed South Korea a formal warning for failure to keep up with its international obligation to fight IUUF (see GFBF post: J’accuse!! eNGOs point finger pointed squarely at South Korea as the main IUU tuna fishing nation in African waters on the back of EU accusations).

IUU Fishing vessel from Gabon. Photo by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).  Source: http://denstormerpresents.com/2013/01/16/top-10-countries-involved-in-illegal-unreported-and-unregulated-fishing/

IUU Fishing vessel from Gabon. Photo by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Source: http://denstormerpresents.com/2013/01/16/top-10-countries-involved-in-illegal-unreported-and-unregulated-fishing/

Though the preliminary listing by the EU will not, at this stage, entail any measures affecting seafood trade, if Korea is designated as a full IUU fishing nation, all fish and fish products caught or manufactured by Korean fleets and their owner companies will be precluded from entering the EU market.

According to Atuna this warning came as a “shock to Korea, which prides itself as being a fishing powerhouse with 344 registered vessels in 2012.” Yet the article implies that this shock cannot be all that ‘unexpected’, noting that since 2010:

[T]he E.U. urged the Korean government to actively engage in stopping illegal fishing, after a number of international environmental organizations disclosed fishing illegalities by Korean ships. Rumors that the E.U. could issue a warning to the country were common place.”

The South Korean Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries claimed that it was talking with the E.U. and Korea would not likely face any penalties. I wrote earlier in this blog that in furtherance of this; South Korea amended their Water Fisheries Act:

For South Korea the possibility of being blacklisted by the EU is not only embarrassing; it could have real economic impact. Atuna points out, that in July (2013), the Korean National Assembly amended its Water Fisheries Act to help curb illegal fishing. One of the amendments includes an increase in penalties for illegal fishing from a fine of USD 5,000, to a significant maximum fine of three times the value of the fish caught.”

But According to Atuna the EU reportedly did not accept the legislative amendment, maintaining that “the revision lacks control over IUUF.”

In the face of the ‘shock’ as a consequence of being stigmatized as an IUUF nation, the South Korean Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, in addition to the legislative amendment, instead of fortifying compliance measures, recently suspended the introduction of a compulsory Vessel Monitoring System (VMS), which tracks a fishing vessel’s whereabouts, until July next year. Interestingly China has already made VMS compulsory. It is said that this suspension of compulsory VMS is one of the justifications for the preliminary IUU blacklisting.

The Korean Ministry claimed that enforcing the system which will cost millions of won for each vessel could be a financial burden to companies. However Atuna notes that according to a fishing industry insider, who asked for anonymity, it may be burdensome for some small companies, but it was not a big deal for large companies such as Dongwon, Korea’s largest canned tuna provider.

South Korea’s fishing industry receives yearly a high amount of government subsidies, of which also tuna fishing companies are profiting, some of them directly or indirectly being associated with IUU fishing. Park Ji Hyun of Greenpeace added that “large companies (like Dongwon and Sajo Industries) take about 80 percent of the ministry’s subsidies to the fishing industry amounting to 300 billion won a year.”

FV Oyang 70-fishing-boat

South Korean Fishing Vessel. FV Oyang 70

Korea criticizes EU IUU ‘double standard’

According to Seafood Source the EU is facing a backlash from Korean fishermen’s organizations over its 26 November decision to preliminarily add the country to its illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing (IUUF) list. The Korea Overseas Fisheries Association (KOFA), a group of operators of fishing vessels in international waters, claimed the EU applied a double standard when blacklisting countries.

Yi Whan-woo wrote in the Korea Times that KOFA is criticising the EU for its silence with respect to China, and acknowledged the potential for the EU decision to be at least partly bases on a premise that Korean fishing boats compete with Spanish ones in seas off West Africa.

The association criticized the E.U. for keeping mum about China, saying its decision came partly because Korean fishing boats compete with Spanish ones in seas off West Africa.

According to a spokesperson from KOFA (on condition of anonymity in a telephone interview with The Korea Times):

The EU’s measure is rational at all, although its true we have performed IUUF activities […]

Chinese fishing boats have also been engaged in a number of IUUF activities but the EU is taking a lenient attitude […]

The Ministry (Ministry of Ocean and Fisheries) has been making efforts to cope with the unions requirements, and it is inappropriate to blacklist a country without giving it sufficient time to meet the demands.

According to the South Korean Ministry of Ocean and Fisheries, the EU has been demanding Korea equip its distant water fishing fleet with VMS, since 2010. It has also asked Seoul to set up a fisheries monitoring center (FMC) that oversees activities of vessels equipped with VMS through a satellite network.

A revised EU regulation requires all distant water fishing vessels operating on the high seas who are selling product entering the EU, must be equipped with a VMS commencing July 2014 The Korean National Assembly approved a bill in July 2013 to require the Ministry and Korean fishing boats to respectively set up an FMC and install VMS by mid-2014.

It would seem that South Korea may end up complying with EU regulations, and will overcome their preliminary black listing. They must. As I said above “for South Korea the possibility of being blacklisted by the EU is not only embarrassing; it could have real economic impact..“

J’accuse!! eNGOs point finger pointed squarely at South Korea as the main IUU tuna fishing nation in African waters on the back of EU accusations

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The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) annual meeting, in Cape Town, South Africa was the event that prompted Pew branding South Korea Seen as the main IUU tune fishing nation In African waters [Atuna 20 Nov 2013]. This IUU fishing costs the continent millions of dollars a year. Activist and environmental organizations are calling for new measure to prevent illegal fishing activities.

These accusations follow a a series of illegal fishing occurrences off West Africa, which involved Dongwon owned or operated vessels. Dongwon is South Korea’s largest tuna fishing company and owns US tuna brand StarKist. A swell as vessels from other South Korean companies like Seokyung Corp

Elizabeth Wilson of the Pew Charitable Trusts’ environmental wing commented that:

The worldwide value of illegal fishing was estimated between USD 10 billion and USD 23.5 billion in a 2012 report on illegal fishing off Africa by the Environmental Justice Foundation …There are indications that South Korean companies were among the major offenders involved in illegal fishing in African waters… This illegal fishing is a real problem. It’s definitely something that countries are starting to take more seriously and it’s something that we are hoping ICCAT will be looking at.”

What do Pew Propose?

    • Permanent Vessel Identification: Pew is calling on the ICCAT meeting to require that all vessels have to carry a permanent identification so that boats cannot change names or flags in order to avoid punishment of illegal fishing operations.
    • Catch Documentation Scheme (CDS): Pew is calling on the commission to implement an electronic catch documentation system that digitally records each tuna that is caught. The system is due for implementation in March, but according to Wilson, some states are pressing to move the deadline back.

These proposals come on the back of an issuance of a formal warning ‘yellow card’ to South Korea by the European Union (EU) if it fails to keep up with international obligations to fight illegal fishing (see Atuna [27 Nov 2013]  South Korea Risks IUU status in the EU). According to European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki:

These decisions show our steadfast commitment to tackling illegal fishing. The EU market is negatively affected as are local and EU fishermen. We continue to put pressure on the countries which are fueling the supply chain of illegal fishing be it as a coastal state, flag state, or flag of convenience. West Africa was identified as a major source of illegal fishing and my intention is now take the same thorough approach in the Pacific.”

Atuna notes that currently states such as Belize, Cambodia and Guinea are facing pending sanctions which will prohibit the export of fish products to the EU. This ‘formal warning’ provides South Korea, (along with Ghana and Curaçao) with notice that this could be a potential fate for its country as well.

The ‘concrete failings’ by South Korea prompting the issuance of the formal warning included the lack of actions to address deficiencies in monitoring, controlling and surveillance of fisheries. The EU suggested that South Korea implement corrective actions to resolve its shortcomings.

A chase at sea near South Korea: an entire fleet of illegal Chinese fishing vessels attempts to evade the South Korean Coast Guard. The fishermen were arrested by armed units soon afterwards. [ Source: http://worldoceanreview.com/en/wor-2/fisheries/illegal-fishing/ © Dong-A Ilbo/AFP ImageForum/Getty Images]

A chase at sea near South Korea: an entire fleet of illegal Chinese fishing vessels attempts to evade the South Korean Coast Guard. The fishermen were arrested by armed units soon afterwards. [ Source: http://worldoceanreview.com/en/wor-2/fisheries/illegal-fishing/ © Dong-A Ilbo/AFP ImageForum/Getty Images]

Transshipment is typical of IUU fishing. As seen here off the coast of Indonesia, smaller fishing vessels transfer their illegally caught fish onto larger refrigerated transport ships (reefers). The fishing vessels are restocked with fuel and supplies at the same time, enabling them to remain at sea for many months. [Source: http://worldoceanreview.com/en/wor-2/fisheries/illegal-fishing/ © Alex Hafford/AFP ImageForum/Getty Images]

Transshipment is typical of IUU fishing. As seen here off the coast of Indonesia, smaller fishing vessels transfer their illegally caught fish onto larger refrigerated transport ships (reefers). The fishing vessels are restocked with fuel and supplies at the same time, enabling them to remain at sea for many months. [Source: http://worldoceanreview.com/en/wor-2/fisheries/illegal-fishing/ © Alex Hafford/AFP ImageForum/Getty Images]

For South Korea the possibility of being blacklisted by the EU is not only embarrassing; it could have real economic impact. Atuna points out, that in July (2013), the Korean National Assembly amended its Water Fisheries Act to help curb illegal fishing. One of the amendments includes an increase in penalties for illegal fishing from a fine of USD 5,000, to a significant maximum fine of three times the value of the fish caught.

The ‘Writing on the Wall’ for the Practice of Shark Finning in New Zealand

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For those New Zealanders who wish to submit on the 2013 draft National Plan of Action for the Management and Conservation Sharks (NPOA Sharks), submission are due on Sunday 8th December 2013.

After having a good look at the NPOA Sharks, I have to say they seem to have accomplished the impossible; it provides for both the ‘sustainable’ and the ‘utilisation’ aspects of sharks management as they are scripted in the New Zealand Fisheries Act 1996.

The goals and objectives of the NPOA Sharks were the product of some pretty inclusive inter-agency engagement. For a number of months Crown agencies (including MFAT, MPI and DOC), seafood Industry bodies (including Seafood New Zealand, Deepwater Group and New Zealand Inshore Fisheries ) and environmental NGOs (including WWF-NZ, Greenpeace, Forest and Bird and ECO) regularly met in Auckland and Wellington, and nutted out agreed high level provisions that could meet New Zealand’s international obligations, market perceptions, Industry operations, and the robust management and conservation on New Zealand sharks.

I also applaud the format and approach, which dovetails in with other NPOAs (like the NPOA Seabirds) and essentially sets up the second instalment of a New Zealand NPOA precedent. Both of these NPOAs subscribe to a risk based approach to the management and conservation which allows us to use scarce resources responsibly and effectively.

But how about the Content?

Well the elephant in the room is that the NPOA is essentially the writing on the Wall for the practice of shark finning in New Zealand. Indeed as the pictures of the ‘Wellington Wall’ demonstrate (below) This writing has been on the wall for awhile.

Writing on Wall "Ban Shark Finning". Wellington. New Zealand

Writing on Wall “Ban Shark Finning”. Wellington. New Zealand

Wall of Sharks. Wellington. New Zealand

Wall of Sharks. Wellington. New Zealand

NPOA Sharks objective 2.5 proposes to eliminate the practice of shark finning in New Zealand fisheries. This is certainly well received my many who see this practice as barbaric and abhorrent (and it is especially as it is done abroad where sharks are targeted solely for fins and the finless bodies discarded alive or dead). In New Zealand live sharks finning is illegal. That said, fins from dead sharks are landed, both as proof of capture to satisfy New Zealand law, and as a marketable product.

Click this Cover to download a copy of the NPOA Sharks 2013

Click this Cover to download a copy of the NPOA Sharks 2013

The NPOA Sharks defines shark finning as:

Shark finning is defined for the purpose of this NPOA as the removal of the fins from a shark (Order Selachii) and the disposal of the remainder of the shark at sea. As such, removal of the fins from a shark where the trunk is also retained for processing is not defined as ‘shark finning’”.

This definition is consistent with international definitions, and is clear in its intention to eliminate the practice of shark finning (even for dead sharks taken in fisheries), however it minimises waste by making provision for processing. Also it is clear that a shark that is utilised (including its fins) is not shark finning and this is not only fair for fishers, it is operationally doable. I do have one concern. This definition could result in the wastage of fins, as the definition limits the ability of fishers to discard unused portions of a shark if they land the fins. Perhaps this will need a hard look. It seems pointless to land the livers, the flesh and the other useable parts of a shark, but have to throw away the fins, if the fisher doesn’t want to hold ammoniating shark bodies on board the vessel that could ruin entire catches.

Otherwise the goals of the NPOA Sharks, notably the commitment to maintaining the biodiversity and long-term viability of New Zealand shark populations; the sustainable utilisation, the reduction of waste and the elimination of the practice of shark finning; & the continuous improvement of the quality of the information that is available from New Zealand vessels for the management and conservation of sharks are commendable.

Goals and Objectives NPOA Sharks 2013

Goals and Objectives NPOA Sharks 2013

I for one, am happy to see the NPOA Sharks occupying the tractable middle ground in New Zealand fisheries management. To me demonstrating the endurability, long term viability and of course the sustainability of harvestable marine resources, prior to their harvest is the fulcrum of the New Zealand Fisheries Act.

New Zealand and USA scale back their proposal for Ross Sea MPA in bid for it’s approval by other nations

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New Zealand and the United States have sharply reduced the extent of a proposed protected area in Antarctica’s Ross Sea, in a last-ditch effort to secure its acceptance at an international meeting next month.

Xinhua noted that after an initial CCAMLR meeting in Hobart, New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully expressed “deep disappointment” over the failure to secure an international marine reserve in Antarctic waters, but vowed to keep pushing the case. According to McCully attempts at establishing a consensus had been “scuttled by the exercise of an effective veto.”

CCAMLR operates by consensus. Ultimately all parties must agree to a decision, or at least choose to not disagree. Consensus decision making (a hallmark of the Antarctic Treaty System) leads to strong agreement and support for decisions that are made. But it can also mean that decisions can take a long time as doubts, criticisms and opposition are addressed.

Talks on proposals for marine protected areas (MPAs) by the 26- member Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) were abandoned Tuesday after theRussian and Ukrainian delegations questioned the CCAMLR’s legal authority to declare such reserves.

Xinhua quoted University of Canterbury law expert Professor Karen Scott who said that Russia’s legal concerns had no legal foundation as Russia had supported other marine protected areas on the high seas:

Although there is no global instrument that provides for an explicit right to create MPAs on the high seas, a number of treaties that require states to take measures to protect ocean biodiversity arguably provide implicit support for such measures… Relevant treaties include the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the 1992 Biodiversity Convention. States, including Russia, have agreed to protect 10 percent of the world’s oceans by 2020 under the 2010 Aichi Biodiversity Targets. This commitment was reaffirmed by the United Nations General Assembly in September 2011.”

The CCAMLR special meeting in Bremerhaven, Germany, was considering two MPA proposals: a New Zealand-United States proposal for the Ross Sea region and another by Australia, France and the European Union for a network of MPAs in East Antarctica.

Reports from the meeting suggested that attempts to establish a consensus had been “scuttled by the exercise of an effective veto, ” McCully said in a statement.

In a move aimed to help secure other nations’ approval of a large new MPA in Antarctica’s Ross Sea, New Zealand and the US have scaled back the size of their proposed protected area — from 2.28 million km2 to 1.34 million km2, a reduction of 41%.

Proposed Antarctic Protections and the States that proposed them

Proposed Antarctic Protections and the States that proposed them. See Nature (http://www.nature.com/news/disappointment-as-antarctic-protection-bid-fails-1.11723)

The revised proposal is in response to meetings in July 2013, and in Bremerhaven of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) and its Scientific Committee, where the prior New Zealand/US proposal was discussed.

In a press release, New Zealand emphasized that the new plan — to be presented at next month’s annual meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) in Hobart, Australia — would, at a total area of 1.34 million square kilometres, be the largest Marine Protected Area (MPA) in the world. However, the press release added, certain elements of the proposal (an earlier version of which had been rejected at a special CCAMLR meeting in Germany in July) had been altered in response to advice from CCAMLR’s Scientific Committee. The revised proposal will be considered by CCAMLR at its annual meeting this October in Hobart, Australia. The revised proposal is availble at the New Zbaland Minsitry of Foreign Affairs and Trade Website [click here].

According to MPA News:

Although the revised proposal is significantly smaller than its previous form, it would still amount to an enormous protected area, nearly all of which would be no-take (93%). Although the revision clarifies that the MPA would be subject to review and possible amendment every 10 years, it stops short of providing a sunset clause, under which the MPA would have a scheduled end date. China and other nations called for a sunset clause at the July meeting.”