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UK Government Backs Plan To Create 1.8m Kilometre Antarctic Nature Reserve

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UK Government Backs Plan To Create 1.8m Kilometre Antarctic Nature Reserve

The UK Government has backed the establishment of a huge wildlife reservation in Antarctica.

The proposed reserve would cover around 1.8m kilometres and would be the largest nature reserve of its type, covering a huge portion of the Antarctic Ocean.

It is thought that the reserve - which would be five times the size of Germany - could have a huge effect on both wildlife and climate change. It would also ban all fishing vessels from large swathes of the Antarctic peninsula as well as the Weddell Sea.

It is hoped that blue whales, orcas, seals, and penguins would all thrive under the new laws. The seas around Antarctica are rich in life, but also vital for absorbing carbon dioxide, thus making it a key factor in slowing down the effects of climate change.

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Credit: PA
Credit: PA

The decision as to whether or not it will happen ultimately rests in the hands of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources.

It's not just a catchy name, they also do really good work protecting the seas.

They're meeting in Hobart at the end of October to make a decision on the wildlife reserve.

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This latest offering of support from the UK Government comes after they also backed plans to protect around 30 percent of the world's oceans by 2030. Big news in the world of environmentalism.

The Environment Secretary Michael Gove said that he is 'fully behind' the Antarctic reserve.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

He continued: "The protection of our oceans requires global action.

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"The Hobart meeting presents a brilliant opportunity for the international community to unite together to safeguard our marine habitats for future generations."

The government are serious about this, as well. Sir Alan Duncan, the foreign minister for polar regions, said that the UK will do all it can to get the plans to come to fruition.

He said: "The UK has been unwavering in our commitment to establish marine protected areas in Antarctica and we are using our voice internationally to make the case for practical action."

Credit: PA
Credit: PA
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Also on board are Germany and the rest of the EU, which means that the case definitely stands a strong chance.

Will McCallum, from environmental charity Greenpeace, said: "The governments responsible for these waters have a historic opportunity over the next two weeks to safeguard this precious region and make a huge contribution to the health of our global oceans.

"There is a scientific imperative to create sanctuaries across at least 30 percent of our oceans by 2030, to protect wildlife and help to tackle climate change."

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He added: "If the Antarctic ocean commission fails to live up to its name and kicks ambitious sanctuary proposals to touch, it risks becoming little more than a fisheries management organisation and failing in its mandate to conserve the Antarctic Ocean for generations to come."

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Environment, UK News, climate change, News, Antarctica, Animals

Tom Wood
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