This paper discusses the two current marine protected area (MPA) proposals, for East Antarctica and for the Ross Sea, and assesses their potential economic impact on commercial fishing for Antarctic toothfish (Dissostichus mawsoni) and Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba). The paper concludes that the proposed MPAs will have a minimal impact on current overall catch limits for the target stocks when new catch spread scenarios are taken into account. For example, the Ross Sea Antarctic toothfish stock total catch limit would remain unchanged by the fishing effort being reallocated away from the sensitive continental shelf. The East Antarctic MPA proposal would permit fishing where the fishing will not impact the specific objectives of the MPA. In both of these MPAs, biodiversity and scientific gains could be substantial, while having little impact on current fishing as effort can either be relocated or would not be affected.
The MPA proposals in waters governed by the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) have been developed to protect representative aspects of biodiversity, for research, and as a baseline and comparison for monitoring the impacts of climate change. It is important to note that the fisheries currently operating in these waters represent a small fraction of the total reported catch by tonnage and value of the global catch of the participating Members.