Ross Sea reserve threatened

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Plans for a marine reserve in the Ross Sea could be in jeopardy after New Zealand pulled out of a joint proposal with the United States, environment coalition Antarctic Ocean Alliance New Zealand (AOA) says.

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully today announced New Zealand would submit its own proposal for the Marine Protection Area (MPA) in the Ross Sea region.

The submission would enable the toothfish fishery to continue in the areas outside New Zealand’s proposed MPA.

It will be handed to the Commission for the Conservation of Antartica Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) tomorrow.

But AOA coordinator Geoff Keey said New Zealand’s proposal was “weak” as it was designed to have zero impact on the fishing industry.

“The US one was more conservation focused,” he said.

The United States had discussed drafting a joint proposal with New Zealand, “taking the best bits from both proposals,