Threats to Antarctica and Management

  • Created by: carys
  • Created on: 31-05-19 14:14
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  • Threats to Antarctica
    • Fishing and Whaling
      • Overfishing of the Antarctic Krill. in 2013 over 200,000 tonnes of Krill were fished = knock-on effects along the food chain.
      • There are legal limits on how much can be fished/yr. However there is a lot of illegal fishing and hard to monitor.
      • Whaling was common in mid-20th century. Has declined since 1982 when regulations were brought about to ban all commercial whaling. Some countries still continue under 'scientific research'.
    • Climate Change
      • West coast of Antarctica has warmed by 3 degrees in 50yrs.
      • Caused Ice shelves to melt around Weddell Sea and Ross Sea.
      • Threats to species. eg Adelie penguins, adapted to sea ice, have declined as ice melted.
      • Antarctic Krill has declined as sea ice has melted. 80% since 1970s.
      • This has impacted global sea levels. risen 3mm/yr since 1990s. this makes ice shelves unstable and increase melting more (+feedback)
      • Also causes Ocean acidification. carbon dioxide plus saltwater = carbonic acid. this depletes calcium carbonate in ocean which is devastating to plankton that need it for shells.
      • Paris Agreement.
      • The hardest to manage because the continent itself doesn't cause climate change - but it has the worst impacts.
    • Mining
      • there are large deposits of coal and iron in the Transantarctic mountains.
      • Reserves of oil underneath Southern Ocean
      • Currently banned under the Madrid Protocol. Conditions aren't favourable anyway. 2048- the Protocol will be reviewed - increased demand for resources?
    • Tourism
      • Tourism growing rapidly. the 2007/8 season saw 46,000 visitors. Why? advance sin transport, incomparable holiday experience, remarkable wildlife, unspoilt landscape.
      • Positives: educates visitors, boosts the economies of countries running the trips.
      • Plant trampling, litter, oil spills and air pollution, introduce non-native species and disease, disturb breeding colonies.
      • Code of Conduct- International association of Antarctica tour operators: protected areas off limits, supervision, no litter can be left, no smoking, sewage must be treated biologically, fewer than 500 allowed to land, and 100 on shore at any one time.
    • The Antarctic Treaty, 1959.
      • Signed by 53 countries.
      • Should only be used for peaceful reaosns, countries should co-op on research, should remain a common.
      • No system to ensure they abide by rules - countries encouraged to negotiate, if not = International Court of Justice.
      • Countries must reach a consensus - slow and difficult - eg between 2012 and 2016, plans for Antarctic Marine Reserves repeatedly failed because of opposition from Russia and Ukraine.
    • Global institutions
      • IWC - regulates whaling. Set up a whale sanctuary in Southern Ocean. Have been criticised for not properly monitoring the number of whales.The Whaling Moratorium has helped populations increase. Greenpeace believes it is poorly enforced.
      • UNEP - reports activity in Antarctica to the UN. It is run by CCLAMR, which aims to stop illegal fishing and conserve the ecosystem.
    • NGOs
      • ASOC - Thought some countries wanted to legalise oil, gas and minerals. Campaigned to to make Antarctic Treaty meeting more transparent, so NGOs can attend. Monitors environmental changes, whether countries abide by rules, and climate change impacts.
      • Greenpeace - protection of all wildlife within the area below the convergence zone, use of the continent for only high quality scientific research, maintain it as a zone of peace.


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