The world's largest protected marine reserve has finally been given the green light in Antarctica after Russia dropped its objections.
Delegates from 24 countries and the European Union met in Hobart, Australia, where the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) agreed that the Ross Sea in Antarctica will become the world's largest marine protected area (MPA), reports the BBC.
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Conservationists and environmentalists have welcomed the move.
According to the Telegraph, Chris Johnson, WWF-Australia Ocean Science Manager, said: "It is home to one third of the world's Adélie penguins, one quarter of all emperor penguins, one third of all Antarctic petrels, and over half of all South Pacific Weddell seals.
"This is important not just for the incredible diversity of life that it will protect, but also for the contribution it makes to building the resilience of the world's ocean in the face of climate change."
The idea for the reserve was introduced by New Zealand and the US in 2012, and will feature a 70 per cent protected 'no-take' zone where fishing is banned and nothing can be removed.
There will be special zones where fishing for krill and toothfish will be allowed for research purposes.
The plan was opposed by China, Russia and Ukraine, who voiced concerns about their fishing industries. They conceded after the time limit of the agreement was taken down from 50 years to 35 years, and the fishing quota outside the no-take zone was increased.
The move has been seen as a 'win' for conservationists, but some have expressed concern at the 35-year protected status limit, and believe it should be protected for far longer to combat over fishing and the effects of climate change.