India supports decision to designate East Antarctica and the Weddell Sea as marine protected areas

India has extended its support for the protection of the Antarctic environment and co-sponsored a European Union proposal to designate East Antarctica and the Weddell Sea as marine protected areas (MPAs), announced Thursday. the Ministry of Earth Sciences.

Addressing a high-level ministerial meeting held virtually on Wednesday, which was attended by various countries in the European Union, Earth Sciences Minister Jitendra Singh said the two proposed MPAs are essential to regulate illegal fishing not declared and unregulated.

He urged member countries of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) to ensure that India remains associated in the future in the mechanisms of formulation, adaptation and implementation of these MPAs. “India supports sustainability in protecting the Antarctic environment,” Singh said.

“India has extended its support for the protection of the Antarctic environment and co-sponsorship of the European Union’s proposal to designate East Antarctica and the Weddell Sea as Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) “said the Ministry of the Environment.

Singh said the proposal to designate East Antarctica and the Weddell Sea as MPAs was first presented to the commission in 2020, but a consensus could not be reached at that time. -the. He said since then substantial progress has been made with Australia, Norway, Uruguay and the UK agreeing to co-sponsor the proposal. The minister added that by the end of October 2021, India would join these countries in co-sponsoring the MPA proposals.

Singh informed EU delegates that India embarked on an Antarctic expedition in 1981, across the southern Indian Ocean and that since then there has been no turning back. He said that so far India has completed 40 expeditions with plans for the 41st expedition in 2021-2022.

Singh said this was the first time India had considered co-sponsoring an MPA proposal to CCAMLR and aligning with countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Korea, New -Zeeland, South Africa and the United States, which are also proactively considering supporting the GPA. proposals.

The minister said India’s decision to consider expanding its support and co-sponsoring MPA proposals is driven by the principles of conservation and sustainable use and adheres to global cooperation frameworks such as the Goals sustainable development, the United Nations Ocean Decade, the Convention on Biodiversity, etc. of which India is a signatory.

The high-level ministerial meeting was hosted virtually by Virginijus Sinkevicius, European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries. In attendance were ministers, ambassadors and country commissioners from nearly 18 countries. The meeting aimed to increase the number of co-sponsors of MPA proposals and reflected on a common strategy and future actions for their early adoption by CCAMLR.

CCAMLR is an international treaty to manage Antarctic fisheries in order to preserve species diversity and the stability of the entire Antarctic marine ecosystem. It entered into force in April 1982. India has been a permanent member of CCAMLR since 1986. Work on CCAMLR is coordinated in India by the Ministry of Earth Sciences through its attached office, the Center. for Marine Living Resources and Ecology (CMLRE) in Kochi, Kerala.

A marine protected area ensures the protection of all or part of its natural resources. Certain activities within an MPA are limited or prohibited to achieve specific objectives of conservation, habitat protection, ecosystem monitoring or fisheries management. Since 2009, CCAMLR members have developed MPA proposals for various regions of the Southern Ocean. The CCAMLR Scientific Committee is reviewing these proposals. Once accepted by CCAMLR members, elaborate conservation measures are defined by the commission.