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Management and Conversation of Antarctica

Conservation Measures in Antarctica

The ATS has drafted several significant resolutions aimed at resource conservation and protection. The Agreed Measures for the Conservation of Antarctic Fauna and Flora (1964) protects all life on Antarctica from nonscientific or nonsubsistence killing. The Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Seals (1972) protects all seals south of the Antarctic Circle through yearly catch limits, restricted sealing seasons, and a ban on the killing of Ross and fur seals. The Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (1980) manages commercial fisheries in the Southern Ocean by imposing quotas and bans on particular species and fishing zones. The Protocol on Environmental Protection, also known as the Madrid Protocol (1991), is a comprehensive set of measures for regulating human activities and preserving the environment of Antarctica.

Problems associated with commercial fishing around Antarctica include mammals, birds, and invertebrates accidentally caught during fishing operations or entangled in lost nets and gear. Overfishing or illegal fishing have also been documented. Large-scale commercial harvesting of krill could affect a major food source for many kinds of animals.

Whaling falls under the control not of the ATS, but of the International Whaling Commission (IWC). Established in 1946 to regulate the industry in all the world’s oceans, the IWC set progressively lower limits on whaling throughout the 1970s. In 1994 the IWC established an Antarctic whale sanctuary to protect primary feeding grounds. However, Japan continues to conduct what it claims are scientific whale hunts in the region.

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