Academy Award-nominated actor Leonardo DiCaprio, explorer and Oscar-winning director James Cameron, and Virgin chief Sir Richard Branson are calling on nations to grant protection to waters off Antarctica at an international meeting in Germany this week.
Writing in the Russian newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta, DiCaprio and Grigory Tsidulko of the Antarctic Ocean Alliance note that "the Southern Ocean is one of the most unique and special places on the planet," and "has remained, until now, relatively untouched because it is so remote and inhospitable. But even that is changing as humanity moves to exploit these last wild and remote places."
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Such exploitation includes, particularly, fishing for krill and, more immediately, Patagonian toothfish (generally marketed by the more palatable-sounding name of Chilean sea bass). According to the Lenfest Ocean Program, overfishing appears to be causing declines in the toothfish in part of its range; because of that, because of concerns over the potential impact on the Antarctic marine ecosystem of krill fishing, and because of the desire to protect waters that sustain three-quarters of marine life worldwide, member nations of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) submitted proposals to establish a pair of marine protected areas at the organization's annual meeting last October.