The Ross Sea is a deep bay of the Southern Ocean in Antarctica and has remained free from widespread pollution, invasive species, mining, and overfishing.
The Ross Sea is the most productive stretch of water in the Southern Ocean and home to high concentrations of wildlife and an incredible array of animals, many found nowhere else on the planet and collectively comprise the last intact marine ecosystem on Earth. As such, the Ross Sea is a living laboratory providing scientists with a last chance to understand how a healthy marine ecosystem functions. There is a proposal currently in the works to designate 1.57 million kilometers as a marine protected area. The parameters of that designation are being argued in upcoming meetings of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) with parties discussing the extent of protections, time limits, and of most significance, a reduction on the size of the “no take” zone. We believe that a compelling documentation of the living resources that make up the fabric of the ecosystem would serve to inform these decisions.