Southern Ocean guardian wins WWF conservation medal
London, UK – WWF’s highest accolade, the Duke of Edinburgh Conservation Medal, has been awarded to Dr Denzil Miller, Executive Secretary for the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).
Dr Miller received the award for implementing significant innovations by CCAMLR that have directly enhanced the preservation of the Southern Ocean.
“As the head of one of the world’s leading conservation commissions, Dr Miller has shown exemplary leadership, responding to the global fishing crisis by pioneering new ways to safeguard our seas, particularly in the Southern Ocean,” said WWF International’s Director General James Leape.
“His ground-breaking work has helped to promote a balanced management approach, halt illegal fishing, and reduce the number of seabirds killed by longline fishing in one of the world’s most important marine environments. These and other contributions make him a worthy recipient of the Duke of Edinburgh Conservation Medal"
Words from the winner
Dr Miller received the award from WWF International’s President Emeritus, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace.
CCAMLR, under Dr Miller, has made significant efforts to implement a management regime that aims to control human activities, and has especially pioneered sustainable fisheries management in the commission’s mandated area.
“I see my award as strongly reflecting the good work undertaken over many years by a large number of extremely dedicated scientists, policy makers and diplomats as well as by the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources,” said Dr Miller said in his acceptance speech.
“Our generation has an awesome responsibility in passing on a sustainable marine heritage to future generations. Governments, scientists, fisheries managers and civil society all play a role in the management of our oceans.”
Protecting the Southern Ocean
The Southern Ocean marine environment supports rich plant and animal life, including penguins, seals, whales and albatrosses. It also supports a significant commercial fishery, active since the 1980s, which targets a number of fish, squid and krill species.
The most commercially important of these is long-line fishing for the valuable toothfish. The krill shrimp fishery may also become much more important as it supplies fishmeal to aquaculture, and more species are currently being investigated for potential commercial exploitation.
A high level of destructive and illegal fishing occurs in the Southern Ocean. Pollution, invasive species and climate change also threaten this unique environment.
WWF urges other regional fisheries management organizations established to control high seas fisheries to follow CCAMLR’s lead and establish science-based management regimes for all high seas fisheries.
WWF is also calling for an ecologically representative network of marine protected areas covering at least 10% of the 35 million sq km Southern Ocean by 2012. Creating a network of marine protected areas will help reduce the impact of other pressures in the region such as fisheries and tourism, helping to sustain a healthier marine environment which is better able to adapt to rising temperatures.
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