World's Largest Marine Protected Area Created off Antarctica

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October 28, 2016

Representatives from 24 nations and the European Union have created the world’s largest marine protected area, off the coast of Antarctica.

The area, in the Ross Sea, is 598,000 square miles in size and home to 16,000 species of penguins, seals, whales, and other wildlife that are found nowhere else on Earth.

Under the agreement, 30 percent of the area will be off limits to commercial fishing. Another 28 percent will be research zones.

The unanimous agreement came at the annual meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources. The members of the commission had negotiated for a few years. Until this year, China and Russia had refused to sign on to the agreement.

The protection takes effect on December 1, 2017.

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