The failure of CCAMLR to reach an agreement on establishing a Ross Sea MPA is a tragedy, the responsibility for which can be laid at the door of the Green Extreme NGO’s that comprise the Antarctic Oceans Alliance.
That Russia, Korea, Japan, China and the Ukraine all obstructed any MPA at all was well known before the meeting, which made the NZ proposal – pragmatic, science-based and a reasonable person’s balance between sustained resource utilisation and ecological protection – a chance of success at best. But just a chance is better than no chance.
CCAMLR has to have 100% agreement between the 25 members for any changes to its rules. So given the chances of any restriction getting agreement were always slim, it meant pragmatism was the only sensible course for New Zealand – or any member wishing to move the Treaty forward on ecological protection. And that’s something many of us want.
That realpolitik makes the Antarctic Ocean’s Alliance’s (AOA) extreme MPA proposal irrelevant to the discussion on the table and worse than that, utterly destructive to the process of getting consensus between members. Think about it. If you are a fishing nation like those above, what they see is this bunch of ranting crazy greenies agitating within the rich, privileged Western counties for what amounts to a total ban on toothfishing. Why on earth would you let that type of threat even get off first base? You’d kill it dead at birth, which is what has happened.
So considered conservationists come away totally empty-handed with no agreement on marine protected areas, the ranting Green Extreme have destroyed the chances of compromise yet again, just as happened several years ago with whaling. And somehow they feel their’s is a credible stance – it’s shameful and testimony to a group who prefer to parade their “green” credentials rather than make real gains for environmental protection. They need to spend less time doing unrealistic preachy politicking in Western countries and invest more time educating the populace in Korea, China and Russia.
And the Green Party’s call for Minister McCully to call a Ministerial conference on this is just naïve. For goodness sake, talk about having an over-inflated opinion of New Zealand’s importance. There is not a chance in hell of the fishing CCAMLR members above jumping at such a Green Extreme-inspired capture of a New Zealand Minister. Get real – negotiating incremental gains in a climate of science-based evidence has always been and will remain, the only approach with a chance. Throwing our toys from our cot as the Green Extreme advocates, is laughable. Minister McCully has provided a measured response – progress made getting the US and NZ to agree was significant, but there’s a huge way to go to get the fishing nations to accept we are genuine and credible in our advocacy, not just a stooge for the sillies.
The AOA has done as much as it can to highlight that the real agenda is not to accommodate sustainable use – their’s has been a totally destructive contribution.