Ukraine joins EU project to create marine reserves in Antarctica

Ukraine joins EU project to create marine reserves in Antarctica

Ukrinform
Ukraine has co-initiated the creation of marine protected areas in Antarctica.

This was stated by Deputy Minister of Environment and Natural Resources for European Integration Iryna Stavchuk, who spoke at a virtual high-level meeting chaired by EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Policy and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius, Ukrinform reports referring to the Ministry.

It is noted that the European Commissioner convened a meeting with member states of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources to discuss ahead of the Commission’s 40th meeting the creation of marine protected areas in East Antarctica, the Weddell Sea, and along the Antarctic Peninsula.

Read also: Thousands of penguins crowding near Ukrainian polar station

"Ukraine fully supports the initiatives to establish marine protected areas in East Antarctica, the Weddell Sea, and around the Antarctic Peninsula, and joins the effort as a co-initiator of the areas being created," Stavchuk said.

The official added that Ukraine was ready to join the organization and conduct of joint expeditionary research in East Antarctica, inviting foreign researchers to join. Starting from the Antarctic summer of 2022-2023, the James Clark Ross research vessel, formerly manned by the British Antarctic Survey and recently acquired by the National Antarctic Research Center, can be used.

Stavchuk informed that Ukrainian scientists have already drafted a project to create a protected area around the Vernadsky Research Base in the Argentine Islands. It includes marine and terrestrial components and is set to become part of a larger protected area around the Antarctic Peninsula. It will now serve as a site to monitor rapid changes in the Southern Ocean ecosystem caused by climate change.

Read also: Humpback whales swim up to Ukrainian Antarctic station

According to Commissioner Sinkevičius, at the high-level meeting, the EU reaffirmed its commitment to preserving the rich and vulnerable marine life of the Southern Ocean as action is needed “more than ever” to change the situation, as biodiversity loss and climate change are affecting invaluable ecosystems at an unprecedented rate.

Many countries around have already recognized this need and co-founded new marine protected areas, while the support of all members of the Commission is required, the official stressed.

According to the Ukrainian ministry of environment, on April 28, EU Commissioner Sinkevičius held the first meeting of ministers, joined by new members and backers of the proposal to create marine protected areas in East Antarctica, the Weddell Sea, and along the Antarctic Peninsula. Therefore, amid the current crisis of biodiversity loss and climate change, the EU reiterates its call on all Commission members to take decisive action to preserve the unique and rich biodiversity and ecosystems of the Southern Ocean.

As Ukrinform reported, in September the European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius discussed with the Minister of Environment and Natural Resources of Ukraine, Roman Abramovsky, possibilities of co-sponsoring an EU proposal to create two marine protected areas in Antarctica.

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