Kerry Supports Creation of Antarctic MPA
Calling himself a “child of the ocean,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry voiced his strong support for the creation of a marine protected area (MPA) in Antarctica’s Ross Sea. Kerry emphasized the environmental and economic value of the Ross Sea and all the world’s oceans.
“We call this beautiful planet Earth, but it could well have been called Ocean,” he said.
- Browse through our extensive collection of materials on marine protected areas. MPAs offer many different layers of protection, from no-take zones to commercial fishing areas (scroll to the bottom of the first page, “Levels of Protection”. Can students think of reasons why most MPAs would have such multi-use zones? (There are different stakeholders interested in the ocean—environmentalists, the fishing industry, scientists, historians and underwater archaeologists, etc.)
- Read through our activity “Marine Protected Areas,” which guides students through some of the world’s MPAs using Google Earth. This interactive map also offers views of the world’s MPAs. Can students find MPAs in different ocean environments (Arctic or Antarctic, tropical, temperate, deep-sea, coastal, etc.) Who (or what) are some of the stakeholders in these MPAs? (Marine animals, the fishing industry, scientists, consumers of seafood or other ocean products (such as pearl or coral jewelry), vacationers, underwater archaeologists, surfers and other athletes, etc.)
- The leading stakeholders in the Ross Sea MPA debate are scientists, conservationists, and the fishing industry, which relies on the Ross Sea as a sustainable toothfish (sometimes called Chilean sea bass) fishery. (The proposed MPA would include both no-take zones and a limited commercial fishing zone.) Consider each of the stakeholders:
- Science: Watch marine biologist and National Geographic Explorer Enric Sala talk about the environment of the “Antarctic Ocean.” (The “Antarctic Ocean” includes the Ross Sea.)
- Conservation: Read through “The Case for a Marine Reserve in the Ross Sea,” an outline of support for the Ross Sea MPA.
- Fishing Industry: Look at the handout from the Coalition of Legal Toothfish Operators, which supports maintaining biodiversity in the Ross Sea.
How do students think an MPA in the Ross Sea would impact each of the stakeholders?
- Kerry was joined by former New Zealand Prime Minister (and current Ambassador to the U.S.) Mike Moore and Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Bob Carr. New Zealand and Australia have territorial waters near the Ross Sea. What other nations do students think may have an interest in the MPA proposal? (The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) will debate the proposal in July. There are 25 members of the CCAMLR. In addition, there are many non-member nations who might be considered political or economic stakeholders in the Ross Sea. For instance, North Korean fishing vessels have been detected in the area.)
- Would students support the current proposal for an MPA in the Ross Sea? Why or why not? If not, would they support modifying the proposal? Here is a map of the proposed MPA zones. How would students modify this proposal and display it on a map? Remember to consider stakeholder interests.
Note: We’re experimenting with a new feature here on the NG Education Blog. “Current Event Connection” posts will connect educators with news stories and relevant discussion ideas featuring content from the NG Education website.