Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture

Germany is not fishing around Antarctica

Although Germany has never fished in the CCAMLR Convention area, since the beginning of CCAMLR, fisheries experts and scientists from the German Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) have provided scientific advice to the organisation. Their expertise contributed to setting up one of the most advanced regional fisheries management systems to implement the objectives of the CAMLR Convention and to ensure that the fisheries for Antarctic krill and other finfish-stocks in the Southern Ocean are sustainable.

A new focus on larger things

In the light of the international commitments and goals to increase the protection of the marine environment, CCAMLR agreed to develop a representative system of marine protected areas (MPAs) in the Convention area based on the best available science. A first set in this direction was the adoption in 2009 of the South Orkney Islands southern shelf MPA, the world’s first MPA in international waters. Three years later, Germany followed suit and announced that it would work out a proposal for a marine protected area in the Weddell Sea (WSMPA) – since the early 1980s the focus area of German marine scientific research in the Southern Ocean. The BMEL tasked the Alfred Wegener Institute to compile and analyse the huge amount of research data from this region in order to provide the scientific base for a WSMPA proposal. In 2016, following 4 years of intense work, exchanges and coordination at the national and international level, the scientific documents supporting the WSMPA¬†were acknowledged by the CCAMLR Scientific Committee as “best available science” and a first proposal for the WSMPA was submitted to the CAMLR Commission. Since then, this proposal has gained enormous support within the CCAMLR membership, however, its unanimous adoption is still pending.