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Keith Reid, Penguins show the way for marine spatial planning

Mar 12, 2018

The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) is responsible for the ecosystem-based management of fisheries in the Southern Ocean. The ‘ecosystem approach‘ means that the effects of commercial fishing must take into account not only harvested species (target species) but also dependent species, such as marine predators for which target species are essential to their diet. For Antarctic krill, a central component to the Antarctic marine ecosystem, dependent species include seals and penguins. So the ‘ecosystem approach‘ requires not only monitoring and estimating the krill intake of fishermen  but also that of marine predators  and understanding the spatial interactions between fishing vessels and penguins is key. Enter an innovative program that combines Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) data from fishing vessels with Argos tracks from penguins, as Keith Reid of CCAMLR explains.


 CCAMLR creates world’s largest Marine Protected Area

In October 2016, a joint USA/New Zealand proposal to establish a 1.55 million km2 marine protected area (MPA) in the Ross Sea with special protection from human activities was approved by the Commission for the Conservation of Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR). This new MPA will be effective as of December 2017. The establishment of this protected area strikes a delicate balance between marine protection, sustainable fishing and scientific interests. The area includes important habitats and foraging areas for marine mammals, birds, fish, and invertebrates, including some the region’s most enigmatic species, such as Weddell seals, killer whales and Emperor penguins. Within the protected area is a ‘no-take’ zone, representing 72% of the total area, where all fishing is forbidden. Other areas will allow for some harvesting of fish and krill for scientific research. The MPAs implementation involves a specific monitoring and assessment plan that is currently being developed.

Keith Reid

Dr Keith Reid is the Science Manager at the Secretariat of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR). Prior to his appointment to CCAMLR he was a research scientist with the British Antarctic Survey from 1991 – 2007, he was Project Leader of the Ocean Ecosystems and Management program and completed a secondment as a polar science and policy advisor to the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office. He gained a PhD from Liverpool University in 2002 and has successfully supervised three PhD students and numerous Masters and Honors students. He is an author of over 70 peer-reviewed publications and 2 books. His work focuses on the use of science in the conservation of Antarctic ecosystems and on developing an effective interface between science and policy.


Penguin tracks showing the winter dispersion away from the Antarctic Peninsula,including the location of the Ross Sea region MPA and the South Orkney Southern Shelf MPA


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