Polar Oceans MPA

Greenpeace in Greenland

Two glaciers drain from opposite sides into a narrow fjord, just south of the Petermann glacier on northern Greenland. Pieces of glacier that break off become mixed with thin sea-ice in a jumble of ice fragments on the fjord's surface.

Grant Recipient:  Greenpeace
Project Support:  Polar Endgame – Campaign to Protect the Polar Oceans

The Waitt Foundation is helping Greenpeace fund a marine reserve in the Antarctic’s Ross Sea, as well as impose a moratorium on resource extraction in the Arctic Ocean. Covering a combined seven million km, these protections represent a major step toward the overall goal of protecting 40 percent of the world’s oceans as a network of marine reserves.

Resource Exploitation

The purest, wildest waters on earth, the polar oceans have been the last frontier for exploration. But as natural resources in the rest of the world  dwindle and sea ice continues to melt due to global warming, the valuable fish stocks, mineral deposits and oil and gas reserves have become attractive targets for exploitation. New fish stocks are vulnerable at both poles and the Arctic—with 25% of the world’s remaining fossil fuel reserves—is in imminent danger of plundering.

GP_Bottom Trawling

Evidence of bottom trawling at appx 1000' deep in the Pribilof Canyon in the Bering Sea

Marine Reserve Networks

Greenpeace and other conservation organizations fear without urgent, comprehensive protection as part of a global network of marine reserves, the polar seas will be irrevocably destroyed. While a 1959 Antarctic Treaty led to designation of Antarctica as a World Park with a 50-year prohibition on mineral exploitation as of 1991, this still offers limited protection for Antarctica-and no protection at all for the Arctic. Creating the new reserve in Antarctica and imposing resource restrictions in the Arctic are logical near-term measures toward worldwide protection of these ecosystems.

GP_Sea Floor Sea Life

Shortraker bottomfish, chrinoids, brittle stars, basket stars, anenomes and more seen on the sea floor by a manned submersible during research of Zemchug Canyon in the Bering Sea.

Make Your Voice Count

Support Greenpeace’s plan to protect 40 percent of the world’s oceans as marine reserves by signing the Hands off! Ocean Protection Petition.

About Greenpeace

Founded in 1971, Greenpeace Fund uses peaceful, non-violent and direct confrontation to raise the level and quality of public debate on environmental problems. They seek solutions for, and promote open, informed debate about society’s environmental choices essential to a green future. Greenpeace is actively addressing the threats of global warming, destruction of ancient forests, deterioration of the oceans and nuclear disaster.



Greenpeace Web site

Briefing 2009: Polar Oceans in Peril and a Planet at Risk (Greenpeace)

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