Protecting the Ross Sea, in the Southern Ocean, had been on the commission's agenda for around six years, and conservationists had been arguing for a no-fishing zone there for a decade, said Andrea Kavanagh, a director of the Southern Oceans Sanctuaries Campaign at Pew Charitable Trusts in Washington. "The Ross Sea has much more value as an intact marine ecosystem than as a fishing ground". Additionally, a 110,000 sq km "special research zone" will be established on the outside of the no-take zone, allowing catching of krill and toothfish only for research purposes. The Associated Press reported the two nations submitted a proposal in 2012 that was rejected five time because of concerns from Ukraine, Russia and China.
The deal, put together by New Zealand and the U.S., became a reality after Russian Federation - the last country holding out on the creation of the protected area - agreed to the move.
Twenty-four countries and the European Union made a milestone in sealing the deal of creating the largest marine protected area in the world in the annual meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) in Hobart.
A landmark global agreement to create the world's largest marine park in the Southern Ocean has been brokered in Australia, after five years of compromises and failed negotiations.
The Ross Sea is named after British explorer Sir James Ross and his great, great, great granddaughter Phillipa Ross said the family was thrilled it was safeguarded.
The worldwide agreement was made on Friday, at the conclusion of two weeks of discussions at the annual meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, which took place in Hobart, Australia. Scientists believe that the marine park can be a platform for a deeper understanding of climate change impacts.
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The agreement will go into effect in December.
New Zealand and the United States put forth the proposal to create this marine protected area, or MPA, in 2011. "Secretary (John) Kerry reached out to Russian President (Vladimir) Putin and (Foreign Minister Sergei) Lavrov and I think that helped a great deal to convince Russia to come on board", Evan Bloom, head of the USA delegation at the meeting, said.
A almost 600,000-mile area of Antarctica's Ross Sea got universal protection on Friday.
The Ross Sea MPA agreement follows CCAMLR's establishment in 2009 of the world's first high-seas protection zone - the South Orkney Islands southern shelf MPA - a region covering 94,000 sq km in the South Atlantic.
"The current measures only extend for 35 years".