The plan of implementation for Agenda 21 of the United Nations World Summit on Sustainable Development (2002) requires an estate of marine protected areas for the purposes of long‐term conservation of marine biodiversity by 2012. A representative system of marine protected areas (RSMPA) will be one that (i) provides a spatial estate of the smallest area sufficient to satisfy the principles of Comprehensiveness, Adequacy and Representativeness (CAR) in the long term, (ii) accounts for the state of knowledge, and (iii) can be modified as the state of knowledge improves. In addition, the utility of the RSMPA will be increased if it (iv) can act as a source for maintaining biodiversity in areas outside of the system, (v) can act as a reference for natural variability and change, and (vi) provides for ecosystem resilience in the face of climate change, which is a natural extension of the requirement for adequacy. CCAMLR has been developing a RSMPA since its first Workshop on Marine Protected Areas in 2005, establishing its first large marine protected area in this program in 2009 with the adoption of the South Orkney Islands MPA. To date, there has been no consideration of a RSMPA in eastern Antarctica. In this paper, we develop a proposal for a RSMPA in eastern Antarctica for the region between 30oE and 150oE and from the coast to 60oS. We compile relevant data and information to assess where an estate of areas may be placed in a RSMPA for eastern Antarctica in order to be likely to satisfy the CAR and utility principles described above, despite the paucity of data for the region. The proposal covers 37% of the region aiming to achieve low fragmentation of areas, efficient boundaries for management, and optimizing its utility as reference areas, particularly for the CCAMLR Ecosystem Monitoring Program. It will not interfere with rational use of the region, including for Antarctic krill and Antarctic toothfish. A process for updating the boundaries as new information becomes available is proposed. An important feature of identifying the values, including utility, of the RSMPA will be to ensure that activities do not inadvertently erode those values in the region in the future.
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