This initiative saeeks explicit support from Antarctic tour operators and/or tourism industry bodies (such as the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators – IAATO) for the establishment of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the Southern Ocean by the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), the international body tasked with the conservation of marine life in that region.
In an increasingly small, human-dominated world all actors have a role to play to preserve remaining wild spaces including the ocean. This includes the tourism industry, tour operators, as well as tourism company staff and the tourists themselves. LT&C opens opportunities for these actors to take tangible action towards conservation, for instance by communicating directly to decision makers the importance of protecting marine environments and preserving wild spaces.
CCAMLR, the international body tasked to manage Antarctic marine life, began discussions on the adoption of a representative network of Marine Protected Areas in the early 2000s. In 2009, CCAMLR established the South Orkney Islands Southern Shelf MPA, a region covering 94,000 km2 in the South Atlantic. In 2011 it agreed on a “General framework for the establishment of CCAMLR MPAs.”
MPAs would further the conservation objective of the 1982 Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources. It would also be in accordance with the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, acknowledged in the decision at the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development to conserve 10% of marine and coastal areas through effectively and equitably managed, ecologically representative and well-connected systems of protected areas by 2020.