Oceanwide Expeditions has announced its support of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) decision to make the Ross Sea a marine protected area. As a founding member of the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators, Oceanwide Expeditions has made a statement explaining that supporting the decision to make the Ross Sea an MPA is just one of many proactive steps the cruise line takes to ensure the protection of marine life and sustainable ocean travel.
The decision came from the CCAMLR’s 35th annual meeting, where its Scientific Committee and group members established a 1.55 million-square-kilometer area of the Ross Sea as an MPA, officially creating the world’s largest marine protected area. The decision will take effect in December of 2017 and includes a ‘no-take’ zone, 72 percent of the total area, which will forbid fishing. Other sections of the MPA will allow some harvesting of fish and krill for scientific research.
Oceanwide Expeditions also supports marine protected areas in the Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica and elsewhere. In September 2016, at the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s World Conservation Congress, a resolution passed encouraging an increase in the percentage of marine areas in MPAs to at least 30 percent by 2030, of which many will be supported by Oceanwide Expeditions.
In an effort to further promote and advocate the safe practice of environmentally responsible private-sector travel to the arctic, Oceanwide Expeditions has organized two Ross Sea voyages between January and March 2017 on the ice-strengthened vessel Ortelius, complete with helicopter transfers. The two itineraries, aptly titled Spectacular Ross Sea will sail to the southern parts of the Antarctic Peninsula, Peter I Island, the Bellingshausen and the Amundsen Seas into the Ross Sea. Visiting points will include the Ross Ice-Shelf, Dry Valleys, McMurdo Station, Campbell Island and the historic huts of Scott and Shackleton. The month long itinerary has sale dates set for January 13 and February 15. Prices for the excursion ranges from $17,450.00 to $25,7000.