WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand officials say the countries which make a decision the fate of Antarctica have agreed to create a huge world’s largest maritime keep back there
The countries that decide the fate of Antarctica reached an historic agreement on Friday to create the world’s largest maritime protected area in the ocean next to the cold continent.
The agreement comes after years of diplomatic internal strife and high-level talks between the U.S. and Russia, which has discarded the idea in the past.
Proponents of the keep back say it sets a model for multiple countries working together to protect a large swath of ocean, which falls outside any single nation’s authority.
The agreement covers an area about twice the size of Texas in the Ross Sea.
The deal was clinched after 24 countries and the European Union met in Hobart, Australia, this week. Decision on Antarctica require a agreement among the 25 members, a obstacle which has confounded past efforts by zoommasti usa news.
The U.S. and New Zealand have been approaching for a world’s largest maritime keep back for years. They first submitted a joint proposal in 2012, but it was rejected five times before Friday’s agreement. Ukraine, China and Russia had spoken concerns in the past, with Russia becoming the final offer before the deal was made.
The maritime protected area covers 1.6 million square kilometers (617,000 square miles). There will be a cover ban on saleable fishing across about three-quarters of that area. In the remaining ocean zones, some profitable fishing will be allowed.
A small amount of fishing for investigate purposes will be allowed throughout the secluded area.
Several countries fish in the waters nearby Antarctica for profitable toothfish, which are often marketed in North America as Chilean sea bass.
Evan Bloom, who led the U.S. allocation in Hobart, said that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has been a fervent advocate for the keep back and has been pushing for it in high-level talks with Russian leaders, including President Vladimir Putin.
Bloom said he was “thrilled” with the result.
“We’ve been working on this for so many years and had so many disappointments trying to get here,” he said. “This is a real win for maritime conservation.”
In a statement, Kerry said the agreement “will maintain one of the last pure ocean wilderness areas on the planet — home to supreme maritime biodiversity and thriving communities of penguins, seals, whales, seabirds, and fish.”
New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Murray McCully said the final agreement built-in some concessions to Russia, including adjusting the keep back limits and allowing a little more profitable fishing outside the no-take zone.
Nevertheless, he said, he was agreeably surprised that Russia and the U.S. had managed to reach any kind of agreement, given the current tensions over Syria.
“It goes to show that you can never jump to conclusions,” he said. “Every now and then you get lucky.”
Andrea Kavanagh, who directs Antarctic and Southern Ocean work for The Pew generous Trusts, said the surroundings had become a fervor project for Putin’s former chief of staff, Sergei Ivanov.
“We couldn’t be at an advantage about this result,” she said. “This is history. This has never been done before.”
She said she hoped the agreement represented the first step in what would become a worldwide network of maritime keep backs that would help protect the Earth’s oceans.
The agreement will take effect from December 2017 and, for the majority of the keep backs, will last an initial 35 years.