Countries mull Antarctic marine sanctuary plans

July 15, 2013

Countries that regulate fishing in the Antarctic are meeting in an effort to break an impasse over proposals to create marine sanctuaries off the continent's coast.

The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, which brings together 24 countries and the European Union, meets Monday and Tuesday in the German port city of Bremerhaven.

Countries including Russia, Ukraine and China balked last year at a plan put forward by the U.S. and New Zealand to protect the Ross Sea, considered one of the world's most pristine. There is also over an Australian-European plan for a sanctuary covering a number of areas of the Southern Ocean in the eastern hemisphere..

Deputy German agriculture minister Peter Bleser urged delegates to "take this opportunity" to advance marine protection.

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