Within the framework of the 36th Meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), recently held in Tasmania (Australia), Argentina and Chile took a major step as they submitted their works on a Preliminary Proposal to establish a Marine Protected Area (MPA) in the Western Antarctic Peninsula and the Southern Scotia Arc.
The proposal was first presented in detail before the Scientific Committee of the organization, which is made up of 25 Member States, and is the result of many years' joint work by the scientists of the Argentine Antarctic Institute and the National Directorate for Antarctica of the Argentine Foreign Ministry, and its Chilean counterparts, as well as of cooperation with other countries. The aim of the proposal is to establish a space of greater environmental protection in an area in which there is plenty of human activity owing to the national Antarctic programmes and the fishing and tourism industries in Antarctica. The approval of the proposal will therefore require an intense process of multilateral negotiation.
Both the Scientific Committee and the Commission praised the quality of the proponents' work and the openness and transparency with which the process has been handled. In addition, several Members of the Commission expressed their interest in cooperating with the next steps in the development of the proposal, which has generated great enthusiasm to continue working.
In a crucial event in 2016, CCAMLR agreed to the creation of the largest Marine Protected Area in the world, which was established in Antarctica's Ross Sea.