In recent years, CCAMLR member states undertook substantial efforts to designate marine protected areas (MPAs) in the Southern Ocean. While MPA planning for six domains is underway, for three domains CCAMLR member states were asked to take the lead in MPA planning. At the CCAMLR meeting in 2012, the Commission welcomed the offer of Germany to take the lead in developing a Weddell Sea MPA for consideration in 2014. Subsequently, the German Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection tasked the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) to compile and analyse scientific data for identifying potential conservation areas and measures in the Weddell Sea. The work under this project started mid-April 2013. Here, in our first conceptual outline, we (i) present the principal target area of our evaluation study aiming at a Weddell Sea MPA, (ii) give a systematic overview of our preliminary data retrieval accompanied by an invitation to all experts from within and outside CCAMLR to contribute relevant information and data sets and (iii) set out the project timeline in detail, i. a. to highlight an international expert workshop on the planning of a Weddell Sea MPA in 2014.
Ms Doro Forck (CCAMLR Secretariat)