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Cetacean habitat directory for MPAs and sanctuaries

Marine region number 1 MPA number I

MPA Name (English) Ross Sea Marine Reserve
Post 2nd Edition: Ross Sea region Marine Protected Area
MPA Name (Local) Ross Sea Marine Reserve
Post 2nd Edition: Ross Sea region Marine Protected Area
Current Status Existing

Location • Ross Sea, off Antarctica: includes continental slope and shelf of the Ross Sea, seamounts and the Balleny Islands
Size • 598,000 sq mi (1,550,000 sq km), of which 432,000 sq mi (1,120,000 sq km) is "no-take"

Cetacean name
• Antarctic minke whale, killer whale (including 3 ecotypes), Arnoux’s beaked whale, southern bottlenose whale
Cetacean name
• Balaenoptera bonaerensis, Orcinus orca (including 3 ecotypes), Berardius arnuxii, Hyperoodon planifrons
Other species • crystal krill, Antarctic silverfish and toothfish; Adélie and emperor penguins; Antarctic petrels; Weddell, leopard and crabeater seals

Rationale • Rationale is to protect a large Southern Ocean marine ecosystem as a natural outdoor laboratory for research into evolution, ecosystem processes and climate change.
• Since the 1960s, a multidisciplinary scientific effort has been invested in studies of the geology, physics and biology of the Ross Sea. The result includes long-term data sets unduplicated elsewhere in the Antarctic. Learning how these ecosystems function is the goal. WDCS, ASOC and the consortium of more than 100 Antarctic conservation groups support the highest level of protection for the Ross Sea. This area is also a Sylvia Earle ‘Hope Spot’ and part of WDCS’s 12 for 2012 and Beyond Initiative.
• See Case Study 1, Marine Protected Areas for Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises

Post 2nd Edition
• In October 2016 at the annual Meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) all Member countries agreed to a joint USA/New Zealand proposal to establish a 1.55 million sq km area of the Ross Sea with special protection from human activities. It is the world’s largest Marine Protected Area.
• This MPA, to come into force in December 2017, will limit, or entirely prohibit, certain activities in order to meet specific conservation, habitat protection, ecosystem monitoring and fisheries management objectives. Seventy-two percent (1.12 million sq km) of the MPA will be a 'no-take' zone, which prohibits all fishing. A Special Research Zone will allow for limited research fishing for krill and toothfish. A Krill Research Zone will allow for controlled research fishing for krill.
• CCAMLR's Scientific Committee first endorsed the scientific basis for proposals for the Ross Sea region put forward by the USA and New Zealand in 2011. Each year from 2012 to 2015 the proposal was refined in terms of the scientific data to support the proposal as well as the specific details such as exact location of the boundaries of the MPA, but each time there was a failure to reach agreement.
• Details of implementation of the MPA will be negotiated through the development of a specific monitoring and assessment plan. The delegations of New Zealand and the USA will facilitate this process.
• The duration of the MPA has been set at 35 years, with a consensus decision by the CCAMLR membership required to continue the MPA beyond this period.
Management plan
Management plan web link

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