This year we have the opportunity to create the largest protected area on Earth: an Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary. It would ensure a safe home for future generations of animals, and protect the waters from industrial fishing vessels, currently sucking up the tiny shrimp-like krill, on which all Antarctic life relies.
The Antarctic ocean supports an abundance of incredible life: penguins, whales, fish, seals, and colossal squid. But a warming climate and expanding industrial fishing are threatening this vital ocean and its iconic creatures.
From the biggest animal ever to exist – the Blue whale – to the smallest fish, life in the Antarctic relies on tiny shrimp-like creatures called krill, no bigger than your little finger. A healthy population of krill means a healthy ecosystem. But these krill are being sucked up in vast quantities by industrial fishing companies, which could seriously impact life in the Antarctic.
In the 1980s, mining companies were eyeing up the natural deposits underneath the Antarctic landmass. It took a global movement of millions of people to stop them. Now it’s time for us to make sure the Antarctic ocean is protected too, so that animals can continue to thrive. Ocean sanctuaries are areas of ocean off limits to harmful industrial activity such as fishing, mining and oil drilling. These protected areas allow wildlife to recover, and for a natural balance to be restored.