Last month, plans for a marine sanctuary in Antarctica’s Ross Sea failed.
Now, actor Leonardo DiCaprio, whose Foundation works on a variety of environmental campaigns including wildlife protection and healthy oceans, is calling on the public to help get the sanctuary approved.
He recently wrote to the activist group Avazz regarding the potential Southern Ocean sanctuary that would protect over six million square kilometers of ocean.
The Sanctuary is an important topic at this week’s Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) taking place in Hobart, Australia. CCAMLR was established in 1982 in order to protect marine resources in the Antarctic. It is made up of 24 countries and the European Union.
“Within days, governments could begin turning wide stretches of the Antarctic ocean into the world’s largest marine sanctuary, saving the habitat of whales, penguins, and thousands of other polar species from industrial fishing fleets,” DiCaprio wrote. “But they won’t act unless we speak out now.”
The marine protected areas in the Southern Ocean were originally proposed by Australia, France and the EU. Most other countries support the sanctuary as well, but a few are threatening its future.
“Russia, South Korea and a few others are threatening to vote it down so they can plunder these seas now that others have been fished to death,” he wrote.
He suggests that a “people-powered surge could break open the talks” and change the minds of those opposing the Sanctuary.
“The whales and penguins can’t speak for themselves, so it’s up to us to defend them.”
If you’re interested, click this link to sign the petition.
Copyright © 2012 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.