World's largest marine reserve established as Marine Sanctuary

Enlarge image (© picture alliance/dpa) A highly significant step towards global marine protection has been reached. NZ and 25 countries, among them Germany, have agreed in creating the world's largest marine sanctuary of over a 1.55 million km2 in Antarctica's Ross Sea. New Zealand Foreign Minister McCully said NZ played a leading role in the negotiations. Media report that during his recent trip to Moscow, McCully, along with the US Secretary of State Kerry, convinced the initially reluctant Russian FM Lavrov on the issue. After 6 years of lengthy and difficult negotiations, all 25 members finally accepted the proposal jointly put forward by Germany and New Zealand on creating the world's largest marine sanctuary in the Ross Sea at the 35th meeting of the CCAMLR in Hobart after 6 years' negotiations. 

The Ross Sea covers 1,55 million km² and is situated approx. 4000 km South of New Zealand.  Over half of the area is covered permanentlyby thick layer of ice -  the Ross Shelf.  The Ross Sea is home to over 14.000 animal species, among them whales, dolphins, penguins, seabirds and seals. The marine sanctuary is designated purely for research with the purpose of strengthening international corporation in the fields of marine biology and oceanographic research.