First News - - FRONT PAGE - by Ian Eddy

OF­FI­CIALS and sci­en­tists from around the world are meet­ing right now, in an ef­fort to cre­ate the largest wildlife pro­tec­tion zone on the planet.

The pro­posed net­work of Ma­rine Pro­tec­tion Ar­eas would ban all fish­ing within a huge re­gion of the Wed­dell Sea around Antarc­tica. It would cover an area of 1.8m km2, which is more than seven times the size of the en­tire UK.

The species that would ben­e­fit range all the way from tiny krill up to pen­guins, seals and huge an­i­mals like killer whales. Seabirds would ben­e­fit, too, as they of­ten get caught up in fish­ing nets. The seabed there is also home to crea­tures that aren’t found any­where else on Earth, such

as glass sponges and cold-wa­ter corals.

En­vi­ron­men­tal groups are all be­hind the pro­pos­als, which are be­ing dis­cussed at the an­nual meet­ing of the Com­mis­sion for the Con­ser­va­tion of Antarc­tic Ma­rine Liv­ing Re­sources (CCAMLR).

“I fully sup­port the cre­ation of a sanc­tu­ary in the Wed­dell Sea to en­sure long-term pro­tec­tion for the pre­cious wildlife that calls this area home,” said En­vi­ron­ment Sec­re­tary Michael Gove.

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