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    Climate change and precautionary spatial protection: seasonal sea ice

    Request Meeting Document
    Document Number:
    P.N. Trathan and S.M. Grant (UK)
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    Admin Admin

     Regional climate change is now known to be well established in the Antarctic; however, the implications for biological systems remain poorly understood. Investigating how marine species respond to climate change is potentially best carried out in regions and with species that have been little changed by human activities, particularly by the impacts (either direct or indirect) of marine harvesting. If CCAMLR is to embrace the wider implications of climate change in the context of ecosystem based management, it must understand how the Southern Ocean marine ecosystem will react to climate change, both in the presence of and absence of harvesting. We therefore recommend that locations currently covered by seasonal sea ice (as of 2011) could be considered for creation as restricted use Marine Protected Areas, and that the boundaries of such areas would henceforth remain fixed even though the average position of the ice edge may move further south in future years. Where implemented, these restrictions should remain in force until accumulated scientific evidence shows that krill population processes within these previously ice covered regions, retain the capacity to produce a sustainable harvest, taking into account the need to maintain ecological relationships including for dependent species.