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Convened by Oceanites and hosted by One Ocean Expeditions onboard the MV AKADEMIK IOFFE expedition ship, February 28-March 9, 2016, the inaugural “Future Of Antarctica Forum” provided a unique opportunity for Antarctic stakeholder interests — governments, fishing, tourism, environmental, and scientific — to gather together and discuss moving forward, collaboratively, to secure Antarctica’s future as envisioned by the Antarctic Treaty, the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty, and the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).
The participants reaffirmed the basic principles of these landmark international agreements that, for all humankind, Antarctica is to be used for peaceful and scientific purposes, maintaining the ecological relationships of its living marine resources.
Participants emphasized the global importance of climate change, identifying Antarctica’s central role in better understanding climate change impacts. The Forum noted that changes in Antarctica influence the rest of the world and changes in the rest of the world influence Antarctica.
Moving forward, focusing on the continued evolution of the Antarctic Treaty System in the 21st century, climate change, and ecosystem management, the participants tasked Oceanites — which, through its Antarctic Site Inventory project, has been monitoring the vastly warming Antarctic Peninsula for 22 years — to pursue:
“Distinguishing the direct and interactive effects of climate change, fishing, tourism, and national operations on ecosystems in the Antarctic Peninsula region for improved environmental management”
Ron Naveen, president/founder of Oceanites and principal investigator of the Antarctic Site Inventory, stated:
“I am honored that my colleagues and I have been tasked to pursue this important work addressing the complex issues impinging on the Antarctic Peninsula ecosystem. Most importantly, I’m looking forward, in the collaborative spirit of the Antarctic Treaty system, to working closely with my “Future Of Antarctica Forum” partners and others as this effort advances. Our commitment is to providing Antarctic Treaty Parties the best possible scientific data and information to inform accurate, fact-based decision-making.”