The Future Of Antarctica . . . Is Now! Climate Change Must Be Addressed!



The Future Of Antarctica . . . Is Now!
Climate Change Must Be Addressed!

The 23rd anniversary season of the Antarctic Site Inventory launches shortly, capping a hugely successful and productive year for the nonprofit, non-advocacy, science, and education organization Oceanites . . .

November 17, 2016 – Washington, DC USA — In three days, the 23rd anniversary field season of Oceanites’ Antarctic Site Inventory begins onboard the One Ocean Expeditions ship Akademik Sergey Vavilov, with penguin-counting continuing through February 11, 2017. In 22 seasons, November 1994 to February 2016, the Antarctic Site Inventory has made 1,713 site visits and collected data at 223 Antarctic Peninsula locations, building a comprehensive database that everyone in the Antarctic Treaty system relies upon — from diplomats and governments, other Antarctic scientists, and the environmental community, to expedition tour operators and concerned citizens.

Oceanites and the Inventory represent the only non-governmental science project working in Antarctica and the only project monitoring and analyzing change across the vastly warming Antarctic Peninsula region. The Inventory would not succeed without the generous logistics support of One Ocean Expeditions, Inc. (Canada) and the full cooperation of the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO).

Championing science-based decision-making, this has been a successful year in which Oceanites has significantly advanced the conservation of Antarctic penguins and Antarctica itself.

In February/March 2016, Oceanites convened the inaugural Future of Antarctica Forum in the Peninsula onboard Akademik Ioffe, bringing together leading Antarctic stakeholders, including governments, NGOs, tour operators, fishing interests, and scientists, to discuss issues — particularly, climate change — that are of great concern to Antarctic Treaty countries and the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), which oversees fishing activities in the Southern Ocean.

Oceanites accepted the challenge of Forum participants to establish an international, interdisciplinary effort to distinguish the direct and interactive effects of climate change, fishing, tourism, and national operations on the fragile Antarctic Peninsula ecosystem. To that end, the Norwegian fishing company Aker Biomarine, the largest krill fishing company operating in the region, has agreed to furnish its catch and effort data to Oceanites so it may independently analyze fishing activities vis-à-vis penguin breeding/foraging locations and climate change in the Antarctic Peninsula.

Ron Naveen, founder and president of Oceanites, hailed this progress:

As understood by all our Forum participants, the future of Antarctica is . . . now. Literally. The great continent of ice and its marine ecosystem are changing right before our eyes — and I am gladdened by the commitment of the fishing and tourism industries, governments, the scientific community, and environmental organizations to collaborate, bring resources together, and help Oceanites sort which climate-related and other effects are real and how they might be managed.”

Importantly, at the 35th CCAMLR meeting in October, Aker Biomarine and the Association of Responsible Krill Harvesters (ARK), whose operations comprise 80% of all krill fishing in the Antarctic Peninsula, announced an initiative to voluntarily avoid fishing where penguins are breeding or foraging. Oceanites is providing maps and penguin location reports to Aker Biomarine and ARK to assist this voluntary effort.

Webjørn Eikrem, president of ARK and the EVP Production and Supply Chain at Aker BioMarine said:

Respecting the ecosystem in which we fish is the best way we can ensure the future of our fishery. We are serious about taking responsibility for our Antarctic workplace and value the cooperation with Oceanites to ensure continued progress in conserving the Antarctic and Southern Ocean.”

Jane Rumble, UK CCAMLR Commissioner and Head of the UK Delegation to the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting commented:

Ongoing monitoring programmes are vital if we are to piece together how climate impacts upon penguins and other seabird species in Antarctica, and to ensure that human activities, including science, tourism and fishing, do not cause significant additional stresses. That is why the UK continues to support the work of Oceanites. Identifying critical risks to wildlife and managing human activities is a key responsibility of the Antarctic Treaty System, including helping to focus international commitments to ensure the protection of Antarctica’s unique wildlife.”

For more information, please contact:
Ron Naveen @ Oceanites
PHONE 202-237-6262