In 2015 the European Union proposed a draft Conservation Measure (CM) with the aim of promoting and facilitating scientific research in newly exposed marine areas following ice shelf retreat or collapse around the Antarctic Peninsula (CCAMLR-XXXIV/21). The proposed CM would establish Special Areas for Scientific Study in such areas, with a designated 10-year study period during which time there would be a moratorium on all fishing activities, except for scientific research fishing activities undertaken in accordance with Conservation Measure 24-01.
This proposal was developed following a recommendation by the Antarctic Treaty Meeting of Experts on Climate Change in 2010. The scientific basis of the proposal received broad support from the Scientific Committee in 2015 (SC-CAMLR-XXXIV, paragraphs 8.14 to 8.22), and also in 2012 (SC-CAMLR-XXXI, paragraphs 5.42 and 5.56). A summary of the scientific background is attached for information as Appendix 1. The proposed Special Areas for Scientific Study were agreed by most Members to be an appropriate and practicable response to an important issue. However, a number of points for clarification were raised by the Scientific Committee and the Commission.
In this paper, we present some clarifications and options for the proposed mechanism by which Special Areas for Scientific Study could be established, taking into account the points raised by the Scientific Committee and the Commission during their discussions in 2015. We would welcome the views of WG-EMM-16. Based on advice received from the Working Group, a revised Conservation Measure will be developed and submitted to the Commission in 2016.