World’s largest marine reserve hailed as diplomatic breakthrough

After years of unsuccessful talks, 24 nations and the European Union agreed on 28 October to create the largest marine reserve in the world, around twice the size of Texas, in the Southern Ocean off the coast of Antarctica.

The international deal takes effect in December 2017 and will set aside 1.55 million square kilometres of the Ross Sea, a deep Antarctic bay 3,500 kilometres south of New Zealand, from commercial fishing and mineral exploitation. It is the first time that countries have joined together to protect a major chunk of the high seas — the areas of ocean that are largely unregulated because they do not fall under the jurisdiction of any one nation. Read more...