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Australia confident of Antarctic marine reserve in 2015
The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources meeting closed late Friday with the 25 members unable to reach consensus on two Marine Protected Areas. Australia's joint proposal with France and the European Union for reserves in East Antarctic waters was blocked by China and Russia, as was another put forward by New Zealand and the United States for the Ross Sea, environmental campaigners said. Fleming said while some members had supported the changes to the East Antarctic bid, which had been reduced in size from 1.9 million square kilometres to one million square kilometres since 2011, others felt more changes were needed. "Australia is optimistic CCAMLR will be ready to adopt the East Antarctic MPAs when we next meet in 2015.". Conservationists slammed the failure of the meeting to agree to marine reserves in the remote and wild Antarctic waters, saying the Southern Ocean needed to be protected from fishing. "The proposed designations would have ensured the long-term protection of many species, including penguins, seals and whales." The Ross Sea proposal would have included a roughly 1.34 million square kilometre reservation, in the area often referred to as the "Last Ocean" due to its pristine condition. Environmentalists say the Southern Ocean is home to more than 10,000 unique species, including penguins, whales and colossal squid, as well as a region critical for scientific research, including studies on climate change.

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