Letter to the Editor

MPA News

Dear MPA News:

I refer to your item "Designation expected soon: Antarctica's first wholly marine protected area" in the December 2002/January 2003 issue (MPA News 4:6).

While it is true that the Terra Nova Bay (approximately 30 km2) proposal will be the first wholly marine protected area designated under Annex V of the Madrid Protocol, it will not be the first wholly marine protected area designated under the Antarctic Treaty System. In 1987, the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting accepted a Chilean proposal to designate three wholly protected marine areas:

  • "Chile Bay" (Discovery Bay), Greenwich Island, South Shetland Islands (now Antarctic Specially Protected Area No. 144), of two small areas of benthic habitat (0.8 km2);
  • Port Foster, Deception Island, South Shetland Islands (Antarctic Specially Protected Area No. 145) of two small areas of benthic habitat (1.9 km2); and
  • South Bay, Doumer Island, Palmer Archipelago (Antarctic Specially Protected Area No. 146) (1 km2).

This was followed in 1991 by a proposal put forward by the United States for designation of two substantial Marine Sites of Special Scientific Interest - Eastern Dallmann Bay (520 km2) and Western Bransfield Strait (910 km2), now designated as Antarctic Specially Protected Areas Nos. 153 and 152 respectively - which was adopted by the Antarctic Treaty Committee Meeting XVI (Bonn 1991).

Additionally, under the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Seals (CCAS), three substantial marine areas in which the killing or capturing of seals is prohibited have been designated: an area around the South Orkney Islands of 90,901 km2; the area of the southwestern Ross Sea south of 76 degrees S and west of 170 degrees E (205,896 km2); and Edisto Inlet, Moubray Bay, Borchgrevink Coast (231 km2).

Further information about Antarctic Protected Areas may be obtained from http://www.era.gs/resources/apa/index.html.

Bruce Hull
Senior Environment Officer, Environmental Management & Audit Unit, Australian Antarctic Division, Environment Australia, Channel Highway, Kingston, Tasmania, Australia 7050. Tel: +61 3 6232 3507; E-mail: bruce.hull [at] aad.gov.au; Web: www.aad.gov.au/environment.

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