MIL OSI Translation. Region: Germany / Deutschland –
Source: CDU CSU
Dear Mr President! Ladies and gentlemen! Dear Colleagues! The Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research, has been doing extensive research in the Weddell Sea region since 1980. This extraordinary competence was one reason why the international commission for the conservation of the living marine resources of the Antarctic commissioned the federal government to prepare an application for the protection of the Weddell Sea. That was 2016. Allow me to make an interesting note: our research doesn’t seem to be the worst on this point. I would like to point this out once.
(Applause from members of the CDU / CSU)
This road turned out to be rocky. The Commission is made up of 24 countries and the EU is part of it. Of course, the principle of unanimity prevails here. So, of course, all concerns must be weighed. Despite extensive data and very good arguments, the annual conferences have not yet succeeded in producing the desired protective effect for the Weddell Sea. We met eight times and it failed eight times. In the end it was in fact because of resistance from China and Russia. It is not yet certain whether and in what format the conference will take place this year, in October; because the Russians have reservations about the virtual design of the conference.
Norway – that is very interesting – we have now been able to convince, more precisely: Our Chancellor has probably talked very intensively with the Norwegian Prime Minister. Thank you very much for this.
(Applause from the CDU / CSU and the delegates Frank Schwabe [SPD] and Steffi Lemke [ALLIANCE 90 / THE GREENS])
But this also shows that talks at the highest government level can certainly be successful. So it is worth trying to include Russia and China in such a concept as well.
What are their arguments actually? Russia is of course primarily concerned with fishing interests, krill and hake. With China, on the other hand, it is more of a formal argument, namely that they want to get the data in advance of the protection status.
If you think about it, I think you come to the conclusion that these are not insurmountable hurdles. One could offer the Russians to talk about the fishing industry well in advance of the South Pacific and about the MSY there. You could talk to the Chinese about whether it is possible to organize a good scientific collaboration in order to make their worries a little obsolete.
Success in international environmental protection would be a very good thing at the moment to thaw the very cold international conditions. The UN goal of protecting 10 percent of the world’s oceans by 2020 is a good target, and the Weddell Sea could very well help with that.
By the way, it is interesting that Russia and China have also placed considerable areas of their country under protection: Russia 12 percent – over 200 million hectares – and China at least 15 percent. That gives us hope.
Why is this distant and cold area so important to us? The AWI has named eight reasons that should actually warm us up:
First. The pristine Weddell Sea.
Secondly. The sea ice as a source of food, krill, fish, food for marine mammals and the like.
Third. The clocks go much slower there. Extremely sensitive organisms that reproduce very slowly live here.
Fourth. A great diversity of species – it has already been mentioned – of 14,000 animal species.
Fifth. A retreat for cold-living species.
Sixth. Home of the emperor penguins, 15 colonies, and also petrels, 300,000 breeding pairs.
Seventh. The pantry for marine mammals, for example for six species of seals and twelve species of whales.
Eighth. One species of fish and many hunters. The fish species is the arctic silverfish, which plays a very important role everywhere as a staple food for life there.
To put it even more clearly: A change in the climate could indeed cause the edge of the shelf to recede further. That would increase fishing opportunities and that, ladies and gentlemen, must be prevented in any case.
(Applause from the CDU / CSU and members of the SPD)
It is and must be in the interest of all subsequent generations on our globe that we protect and preserve this special region forever.
(Applause from MP Manfred Grund [CDU / CSU])
I am extremely grateful to our Federal Minister, Julia Klöckner, and to everyone else in the cabinet for supporting this joint proposal. Our application should help to support them, and we hope that we will be able to protect the Weddell Sea as quickly and effectively as possible.
Thank you very much.
(Applause from the CDU / CSU as well as from members of the SPD, the FDP and the BÜNDNISSES 90 / DIE GRÜNEN)
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and / or sentence structure not be perfect.