NEW YORK (October 28, 2016) – WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) applauded the decision by the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources to protect the Ross Sea, a part of the Southern Ocean near Antarctica, as a marine protected area.

The following statement was released by John Calvelli, WCS Executive Vice President of Public Affairs:

“WCS applauds the international community that put aside geopolitical differences to safeguard the Ross Sea. As WCS knows from its work with penguins, whales, seals, sea birds and other wildlife of the Southern Ocean, the waters surrounding Antarctica are particularly vulnerable to ecological collapse. This action will allow this unique seascape to resist ecological pressures including overfishing that harm the oceans’ ability to remain productive and heathy for future generations.

“WCS is engaged in a global effort to support the expansion of marine protected areas around the world. Marine protected areas like this will become increasingly crucial as we confront the challenges associated with global climate change. They are one tool that helps restore our ocean’s fisheries, protect habitats, and conserve a wide range of marine biodiversity.

“Protecting Antarctic feeding grounds and habitat are essential for the conservation of marine species and their biologically important habitats—especially for migratory and wide-ranging species. Our strategy is to protect breeding areas, mitigate threats along the migration, and establish feeding ground protections.

“The world is coming to grips with the need to conserve large swaths of our oceans. We thank the countries involved in this decision for taking action before it’s too late.”