An historic agreement was reached Friday to create the world’s largest marine protected area, covering 600,000 square miles of the ocean next to the frozen continent.
The agreement by delegates from 24 countries and the European Union to protect the Ross Sea comes after years of protracted negotiations, with Russia the last holdout.
There will be a blanket ban on commercial fishing across about three-quarters of the area.
The region is important to the rest of the planet, as the upwelling of nutrients from the deep waters are carried on currents around the world.
The designation was welcomed not just by environmentalists but by those with close links to the area, says BBC News.
“The Ross family are euphoric that our family legacy has been honoured in the 175th anniversary year since James first discovered the Ross Sea,” said Phillipa Ross, great, great, great granddaughter to Sir James Clark Ross, after whom the Ross Sea is named.
And, hey, my family, too.
My uncle, Gordon Cartwright, was the only American scientist to spend a year working with 180 Russians on the frozen continent, at the Soviet Antarctic station Mirny, during the International Geophysical Year of 1957-1958.
A mountain in Antarctica subsequently was named for him. My grandmother, who herself left school after sixth grade to work in a rope factory to help support her family, was so proud. A photo of Mount Cartwright hung above her fireplace.