Russia And Ukraine Halt Giant Antarctic Marine Sanctuary Plan

SYDNEY, Australia -- Russia and the Ukraine on Friday again scuttled plans to create the world's largest ocean sanctuary in Antarctica, pristine waters rich in energy and species such as whales, penguins and vast stocks of fish, an environmentalist group said.

The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources wound up a week-long meeting in Hobart, Australia, considering proposals for two "marine protected areas" aimed at conserving the ocean wilderness from fishing, drilling for oil and other industrial interests.

"It seems pretty clear that a small group of countries led by Russia wanted to wreck the agreement," Steve Campbell, director of the Antarctic Ocean Alliance which campaigns for protecting the Antarctic seas, said by phone from London.

For the sanctuary proposals to pass, they need backing from all 200 delegates from 25 member countries, many of which have conflicting interests.

Russia and Ukraine also actively blocked the two proposals in July, with China withdrawing support for one.

"This is a dark day not just for the Antarctic, but for the world's oceans," Andrea Kavanagh, director of the independent Pew Charitable Trusts' Southern Ocean sanctuaries project, said.

Tony Fleming, director of the Australian Antarctic Division, hoped for a more favorable outcome the next time the proposals are discussed next year.

"If we work with members throughout the year, I believe we can bring a proposal back to next year's meeting which will hopefully achieve consensus," he said.

He did not elaborate.

Antarctica is home to more than 10,000 species including most of the world's penguins, whales, seabirds, colossal squid and Antarctic tooth fish.

It is considered one of the least altered marine ecosystems and provides a global reference point for assessing the consequences of climate change.

"While many other marine ecosystems in other parts of the world have been devastated by development, pollution, mining and over-fishing, many of Antarctica's ocean habitats remain intact with all of their predator species still thriving," the Antarctic Ocean Alliance says on its website.

Source: Scientific American


Igor Skakovsky said…
Russia and Ukraine indeed in its majority shares the culture and history but, today most of the troubles between two countries has to do with economy and who will set the direction for the development of civil society, governmental structures and general law and order system. The fact is that due to geopolitical differences, differences in the physic size of the country and availability of natural resources this two country can not have the identical laws and Government structure. Russia requires more vertical Government structure for at list a foreseeable future, which Ukraine can not justify.
Ukraine number one: must develop on European and American models; number two: keep its key strategic resources independent through appropriate owner ship and targeted tax system to have sufficient means of performing its civil duties; and number three: keep cultural traditions with intensive cultural exchange between Belarus, Russia, Kazakhstan and cooperate with them on International issues and military joint traditions.