Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Places in news: Weddell Sea


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Weddel Sea, Mapping of Southern Ocean

Mains level: NA

India has extended support for protecting the Antarctic environment and for co-sponsoring the proposal of the European Union for designating East Antarctica and the Weddell Sea as Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).

About Weddell Sea

  • The Weddell Sea is part of the Southern Ocean and contains the Weddell Gyre.
  • Its land boundaries are defined by the bay formed from the coasts of Coats Land and the Antarctic Peninsula.
  • Much of the southern part of the sea is covered by a permanent, massive ice shelf field, the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf.
  • The sea is contained within the two overlapping Antarctic territorial claims of Argentine Antarctica, the British Antarctic Territory, and also resides partially within the Antarctic Chilean Territory.

Major ice shelves

  • Various ice shelves, including the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf, fringe the Weddell sea.
  • Some of the ice shelves on the east side of the Antarctic Peninsula, which formerly covered roughly 10,000 square kilometres of the Weddell Sea, had completely disappeared by 2002.
  • The Weddell Sea has been deemed by scientists to have the clearest water of any sea.

India’s support for the Antarctic

  • India supports sustainability in protecting the Antarctic environment.
  • The proposed MPAs are essential to regulate illegal unreported and unregulated fishing.
  • India had urged the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) member countries to ensure Antarctic conservation.
  • India remains associated with the formulation, adaptation and implementation mechanisms of these MPAs in future.

What is CCAMLR?

  • CCAMLR is an international treaty to manage Antarctic fisheries to preserve species diversity and stability of the entire Antarctic marine ecosystem.
  • CCAMLR came into force in April 1982.
  • India has been a permanent member of the CCAMLR since 1986.
  • Work pertaining to the CCAMLR is coordinated in India by the Ministry of Earth Sciences through its attached office, the Centre for Marine Living Resources and Ecology (CMLRE) in Kochi, Kerala.

Back2Basics: Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)

  • An MPA is a marine protected area that provides protection for all or part of its natural resources.
  • Certain activities within an MPA are limited or prohibited to meet specific conservation, habitat protection, ecosystem monitoring, or fisheries management objectives.
  • MPAs can be conserved for a number of reasons including economic resources, biodiversity conservation, and species protection.
  • They are created by delineating zones with permitted and non-permitted uses within that zone.


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