In the 1980s, the oil and mining industries coveted Antarctica’s natural resources, but international efforts led to the signature of a historic treaty in 1991 that defined the continent as ‘a natural reserve, devoted to peace and science’.
A global campaign led by Greenpeace has just been launched to demand that the Southern Ocean be granted the same level of protection and that it be turned into the world’s largest marine sanctuary. With the powerful support of the main economic actors of krill fishing in the Southern Ocean, the campaign was publicly announced, in their presence, during an event Greenpeace held in Cambridge in July 2018. It foresees a ban on krill fishing from 2020 onwards in waters around Antarctica identified as being at risk. The businesses supporting this campaign are also committed to a political and scientific process for the creation of marine sanctuaries in the Southern Ocean that will partly encompass krill fishing areas.
In October 2018, the member states of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), including France, will hold an international summit in Hobart, Tasmania, during which they will have to consider this global effort and make a final decision regarding one of the proposals for the creation of a 1.8-million-square-kilometre marine sanctuary in the Weddell Sea.