An identification of areas within the high seas of the Southern Ocean that would contribute to a representative system of marine protected areas

Abstract
The Commission on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) has the primary responsibility for developing a representative system of marine protected areas (RSMPA) for the Southern Ocean. Under the CCAMLR marine protected area (MPA) work schedule, two important milestones for 2011 are the identification of candidate MPAs and the submission of MPA proposals to the CCAMLR Scientific Committee. However, the majority of the Southern Ocean has not undergone systematic conservation planning to identify potential areas for inclusion in a RSMPA. We address this gap in existing knowledge by identifying areas that would contribute to a comprehensive, adequate and representative system of marine protected areas. We focus our study where marine protected area planning is unlikely to be underway. We aim to identify a system of areas that will capture the set of specified conservation features within the study area including benthic ecoregions and environmental types, pelagic regions, rare features, vulnerable marine ecosystems and biological features. We then provide information that will enable CCAMLR’s MPA workshop and other CCAMLR forums to assess the importance of the areas identified to the development of a comprehensive, adequate and representative system of marine protected areas for the Southern Ocean.
 
Key findings:

  • We present our preliminary results that identify 22 areas, which if designated as marine protected areas (MPAs), would substantially contribute to CCAMLRs goal of establishing a RSMPA by 2012
  • We compile data regarding the level of inclusion and spatial extent of conservation features included within MPAs and within the proposed RSMPA.

 
This research paper was submitted for consideration by the CCAMLR workshop on marine protected areas in 2011. The version attached here contains additional maps to the version submitted to the workshop. 
 
The 22 areas identified for further consideration are:

  • Amundsen
  • Bain
  • Banzare Bank
  • Bellingshausen
  • Berguno
  • Bouvet
  • Bullard
  • Crozet
  • East Indian Seamounts
  • East Kerguelen
  • Elan
  • Heirtzler
  • Kohler
  • Lameyre
  • Maud Rise
  • North Drygalski
  • North Mertz
  • Ob and Lena
  • Peter I
  • South Indian Basin
  • South West Antarctic Peninsula
  • Weddell
Supplementary info: 
To enable the CCAMLR MPA workshop and other CCAMLR forums to assess the importance of each of the areas identified to the development of a comprehensive, adequate and representative system of marine protected areas for the Southern Ocean, we provide four supplementary data spreadsheets: 1) S1_Benthic_ET_Inclusion, 2) S2_Benthic_ET_Coverage, 3) S3_Pelagic_Regions, 4) S4_Temperature_Productivity_Ice_Attributes.
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