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.
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.
Once-in-a-lifetime cruise holidays
Once-in-a-lifetime cruise holidays
Experience an epic maritime voyage through the fabled Northwest Passage from Greenland’s imposing fjords to the stunning ice cliffs of Canada’s high Arctic region on an exclusive tour with polar expert Dr Huw Lewis-Jones. The Ultimate Travel Company's amazing cruise holiday in August 2017 takes in the legendary and notoriously treacherous Arctic route, where you can witness enormous icebergs, local Inuit culture and a staggering number of seabirds, walruses and narwhals. The 16-day cruises costs from £8,840 per person.
Beauty surrounds you on land and underwater in the South Pacific and on a ten-night Society Islands & Tuamotus cruise you can discover the lush rainforests, crystal-clear lagoons and warm breezes that encourage nothing but indulgent beachside lounging. Highlights of the cruise with Paul Gauguin include witnessing the annual grouper spawning as they gather in their thousands, spending two days in the quintessential Pacific paradise of Bora Bora and marvelling at the towering Mount Otemanu. Experienced divers can even descend 130 feet to visit a world inhabited by grey sharks, schools of colourful fish and untouched coral. The fly-cruise departs the UK for Papeete on 7 March 2017 and visits Huahine, Bora Bora, Rangiroa, Fakarava, Taha’a and Moorea, with prices starting at £5,468 per person.
Passengers on an Arctic cruise to discover Greenland can witness the delights of the world’s largest fjord system of Scoresbysund, explore the fascinating Inuit settlements and people of Ittoqqortoormiit, and have the possibility of viewing some of the world’s most vivid displays of the Northern Lights. One of Quark Expeditions' more active adventures, the cruise gives travellers a chance to trek along the tundra and at the Greenland National Park, climb mountains and watch grazing musk ox and other Arctic wildlife on the horizon. The 10-day cruise is priced from £4,100 with departures in September 2016 and 2017 on Ocean Nova.
Travel the world on an epic 137-day voyage, taking the southern hemisphere route and flying business class on Regent Seven Seas Cruises' Navigate the World tour on board the intimate Seven Seas Navigator. Setting sail on 8 January 2018, the cruise begins and ends in Los Angeles, visiting five continents, 28 countries, 28 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and 64 ports of call. The 490 guests on board can indulge in unlimited and complimentary shore excursions, with exclusive experiences including dinner in the bush at the Zulu Nyala Private Game Reserve in South Africa and wine tasting in the countryside in Australia. Some of the most beautiful countries on the itinerary include New Zealand, Hawaii, Fiji and Nicaragua. The cruise costs £45,989 per person.
Snorkel with sea lions, walk across lava fields, drift among penguins and marvel at the uniquely fearless wildlife of the Galapagos Islands on a seven-night luxury cruise with Pura Aventura. The holiday takes in the highlights of the archipelago and allows you to discover the Galapagos on land and in the water, while exploring incredible wildlife and landscapes in depth. You'll fly out to the Galapagos and board a first-class yacht to see giant tortoises in the wild, go snorkelling in Devil’s Crown crater and visit a colony of tiny and rare Galapagos penguins. The cruise costs from £4,350 per person, including internal flights.
Get under the skin of Japan on a Wonders of Japan tour aboard luxurious cruise ship L'Austral accompanied by no more than 199 guests as you sail to ancient dynastic capital and UNESCO World Heritage Site Gyeongju in Korea, enjoy fascinating on-board lectures about Japanese art and culture, history, geology and horticulture, while choosing from a wide range of shore excursions in the likes of Sapporo, Aomori and Matsue. The cruise holiday with Abercrombie & Kent also features exclusive and private openings of the Ohara Museum of Art for guests. Prices start from £10,258 per person for 12 nights departing 18 May 2017.
To experience the very best of the fjordlands of Patagonia and Chile before being introduced to the intriguing world of the Falkland Islands, travel to the lesser-known destinations on the Scenic Eclipse, which is the perfect size to take you into the inner fjords and well-equipped to ensure you experience every last moment of wonder surrounded by luxury. Brüggen Glacier, also known as Pio XI Glacier is the largest glacier in Patagonia. You’ll get the chance to appreciate the full size of it during a Zodiac or kayak excursion. Guests can also take advantage of helicopter excursions above the Andes, Torres del Paine National park and the patchwork of fjords and glaciers, as well as dive below in a submarine to explore marine life off the coast of the Falkland Islands. The 14-day cruise costs from £6,178 per person and departs Valparaiso on 22 November 2018.
Embark on the cruise of a lifetime with a diverse expedition to Antarctica, experiencing the spectacular flora and fauna of the Falkland Islands before immersing yourself in the unique history and exquisite, rare wildlife of South Georgia and heading to the Antarctic Peninsula which you will explore by ship, Zodiac and on foot. Quark Expeditions' 23-day expedition takes in glacier hikes, visits to research bases and kayaking adventures. Wildlife you can expect to encounter includes seals, penguins and whales. The cruise is priced from £9,200 per person and departs on 17 December 2017 on Ocean Diamond.
An ultimate bucket list adventure for many a traveller, seeing the Northern Lights is as magical as you could imagine and on a cruise to Norway you can witness the magnificent Aurora Borealis while sailing to spectacular icy locations. Simply Sweden's six-night holiday features a three-night voyage under the Northern Lights corridor on the Hurtigruten Coastal Steamer, the famous working ship that provides a lifeline to the communities on Norway’s northern coastline. Starting in Tromso, the cruise heads for Kirkenes on the Russian border, crossing the Arctic Circle and calling at the remote North Cape. It costs from £1,350 per person and is available from 1 October to 31 March.
Discover Hong Kong and Vietnam, sailing the South China Sea between the fascinating destinations on a Southeast Asia cruise with Tauck. In Hong Kong, you can see incredible views of its skyline on a ferry ride across Victoria Harbour and from the 360-degree observation deck at the Peak, before visiting street markets where anything and everything is sold. In Vietnam, visit Hanoi where a legacy of French city development meets a chaotic but fascinating Old Quarter. As you sail aboard the sleek L'Austral yacht, there is relaxation and pampering in a refined, contemporary setting, along with lectures and insights shared by an on-board lecturer for Tauck guests only. The 13-day cruise costs from £5,795 per person and departs Hong Kong on 24 October 2016.