For many years conservationists and the international community have worked to protect a large area of the Ross Sea in Antarctica from commercial fishing. For many years it has been Russia that blocked an international treaty. That changed after an intensive year of meetings between Secretary of State Kerry and Russia representatives. The result is a new marine protected area twice the size of Texas.
Some 1.57m sq km (600,000 sq miles) of the Southern Ocean will gain protection from commercial fishing for 35 years.
Environmentalists have welcomed the move to protect what's said to be the Earth's most pristine marine ecosystem.
They hope it will be the first of many such zones in international waters.
At this meeting in Hobart, Australia, the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) agreed unanimously to designate the Ross Sea as an MPA, after years of protracted negotiations, New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully announced.
The Ross Sea, its shelf and slope only comprise 2% of the Southern Ocean but they are home to 38% of the world's Adelie penguins, 30% of the world's Antarctic petrels and around 6% of the world's population of Antarctic minke whales.
Great news and many thanks to Secretary Kerry and President Obama and all the nations that worked together for this! May we now continue to protect far more of our beautiful oceans!
Bold Visions Conservation