Greenpeace New Zealand Campaigner Steve Abel says the New Zealand snub is a missed opportunity to work with the US on protecting key areas of the Ross Sea, also referred to as ‘The Last Ocean’ as it remains relatively unaffected by human impacts.
“Foreign Affairs Minister McCully said he wanted New Zealand to lead on conservation proposals for the Ross Sea. In fact, the New Zealand’s proposal is the weaker of the two and we are dragging down US conservation ambitions with us.”
“New Zealand’s proposal appears to be carefully designed to leave out any areas that are associated with fishing. It misses vital habitats and does not safeguard the heart of the Ross Sea ecosystem.
“Despite our roll as historic guardians of the Ross Sea the Government has sided with the fishing industry. Internationally it is an embarrassment. It is a betrayal of our core New Zealand values and a dark day for our reputation as a leader on environmental protection,” Abel says.
Greenpeace supports the Antarctic Ocean Alliance proposal for additional protection of vital ecological regions of the Ross Sea, including the entire shelf and slope. Neither the US’ nor New Zealand’s proposals meet this ambition.
first photo credit: earthbyte.org