NZ Herald: Forfeit $20m to save Ross Sea, NZ urged

Eloise Gibson of the New Zealand Herald reports that NZ scientists are urging New Zealand to forfeit a lucrative fishing haul, in  the interests of preserving what they say is the world’s last untouched ocean.

The Ross Sea, which is still largely untouched by overfishing and pollution, could lose this status if fishing continues in the area, and gives scientists unparalleled opportunities to study marine animals.

An excerpt: (read in full here)

“The Antarctic and Southern Coalition of conservation groups has described the Ross Sea as a “living laboratory” of wildlife to rival the Galapagos Islands.

“Dr Ainley said it was one of the few places where large numbers of predators at the top of the food chain survived and where scientists could watch hunters such as whales, toothfish and penguins interact.

“A 2007 Niwa report noted little was known about the effects of fishing on the Ross Sea ecosystem, though scientists were working to understand it.

“Niwa said toothfish were both prey and predator, and reducing their numbers could affect the food chain in both directions.”