Antarctica: New Zealand-U.S. Backs Up Marine Protection Plan, Scientists Discovers Life in Icy Lake
By Reissa Su | September 11, 2013 12:23 PM EST
The United States and New Zealand have agreed to reduce the coverage of a proposed project involving the protection of an area in the Ross Sea of Antarctica. The two countries scaled back their plan to increase the chances of its international acceptance in a meeting on October.
New Zealand said in a press release that the new plan on Antarctica will be presented in a meeting with the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living (CAMLR) in October 2013 in Hobart, Australia.
The U.S.-New Zealand proposed plan would cover a total area of 1.34 million square kilometres of Antarctica's Ross Sea. If approved, it will become the biggest marine protected area in the world. According to New Zealand's press release, some elements will be added to the original proposal. It would incorporate the advice given by the Scientific Committee of CCAMLR in a July meeting.
Environmentalists have noticed the changes both countries are proposing would make the protection on the marine area for a limited time, instead of permanent. The marine protected area will also be reduced by 40 per cent in the revised proposal.
The missing 40 per cent included some key areas where toothfish and seamounts spawn and breed. The original U.S.-New Zealand proposal was first presented to CCAMLR meeting in 2012. This was a response amid concerns that Antarctica needed to protect its ecosystem from the dangers of increased fishing in the area.
Scientists shocked to discover life in icy lake
Meanwhile, scientists were shocked to discover life in the frozen lakebed of Antarctica. British Antarctic Survey researchers have proven that there is life even in the most extreme environmental conditions. In the study published in the journal Diversity, scientists announced their discovery of life in Lake Hodgson which is an Antarctic subglacial lake.
David Pearce, the author of the study, said this was the first time that a subglacial lake has been studied. The scientists found viable extremophiles or living organisms that have weathered the harsh conditions of the Antarctic Peninsula.
The study is another step towards the understanding of how life can thrive in extreme weather conditions on Earth and possibly in other planets.
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