"Russia and Ukraine have fishing interests and are a little bit afraid that these could be compromised in some way," Walter Dubner, the head of the German delegation of the talks, was reported as saying. "It is all about fishing," he added. "That is their major concern."
As the meeting broke up with no agreement, environmentalists pinned their hopes on CCAMLR's next annual meeting, in Hobart, Tasmania later this year.
"The actions of the Russian delegation have stalled progress on protecting the Ross Sea and East Antarctica, and have put international cooperation and goodwill at risk, two key ingredients needed for global marine conservation," said Andrea Kavanagh of The Pew Charitable Trusts. "It is imperative that countries send their representatives back to the table in Hobart three months from now to find consensus to protect marine life in Antarctic waters and safeguard some of the most pristine ocean areas on Earth."
The Last Wild Ocean: Analysis
"We salute those CCAMLR Members that tried so hard to find common ground to establish these Antarctic MPAs," said Jim Barnes, Executive Director of the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition (ASOC). "But we are distraught that one county is blocking CCAMLR from meeting its MPA commitments and to see such bad faith here in Bremerhaven. We look forward to Russia finding constructive ways to participate in establishing MPAs at the next meeting this October."