Current marine protected areas in the Southern Ocean need to be at least doubled to adequately safeguard the biodiversity of the Antarctic, according to a new CU Boulder study published today, Earth Day, in the journal PLOS ONE.
Proposals under consideration by an international council this year would significantly improve the variety of habitats protected, sustain fish populations and enhance the region’s resilience to the effects of climate change, the authors say.
“Compared to the rest of the world’s oceans, we have some of the healthiest marine systems left in the world in Antarctica,” said Cassandra Brooks, author of the new paper and assistant professor in the Environmental Studies Program. “But there are vast areas of the Southern Ocean that are left completely unprotected.” MORE
Header image: a Weddell seal swims underwater in the Southern ocean. Credit: John B. Weller.