Decreasing Biodiversity in the Antarctic and Southern Oceans

by zjabbar on November 27, 2015 - 7:51pm

In the article “Antarctic biodiversity faces increased threats despite isolation” by Monica Tan, it is argued that even if the Antarctic and Southern oceans have a decreasing biodiversity because of threats from fishing, tourism, and science programs, the protection measures have remained weak. The author argues that the severity of the problem by outlining the fact that despite the isolation of the Antarctic and Southern oceans, they have a similar limited biodiversity than the rest of the world. “Most people think of the continent as a vast, icy waste, and the sea as uniformly populated by whales, seals and penguins” (Tan, 2015, para. 4). Moreover, the increase in wind speeds boosted by the hole in the ozone layer have rendered the wandering albatross, a seabird, to go faster and decreasing its travel distances, so it has become much heavier. Tan emphasized the impact of human activity on the altercation of the biodiversity because they have only imposed the protection of 1.5% of the land. In other words, the conventions are not helping the environment. Tan proposed to increase the protected areas of the Antarctic to 17% of terrestrial and inland waters and 10% of the marine and coastal areas by 2020. These numbers are the equivalent of the global Aichi biodiversity targets.

            In my opinion, the stakeholders in this issue are the government and scientists. I believe that it is the government’s duty to impose laws that will conserve the biodiversity of the environment and scientists should help the government to write the conventions with their researches. The major roadblock to solving the problem is the necessity of resources. The government needs resources and also has many factories to provide for the population and to obtain personal economical benefits. The government would rather make money and pollute the oceans endangering species rather than protect the environment. I believe that the government does not have ecological priorities, but economical ones. The solutions proposed by Monica Tan, which is to put in place conventions to protect the biodiversity of the Antarctic and Southern oceans and to increase the percentage of protected areas, are both very good and realistic solutions. I agree with Tan on the fact that the government should be more involved in providing strong and effective measures to protect the biodiversity by increasing the percentage from 1.5% to 17% of terrestrial and inland waters protected areas in the Antarctic. I believe that citizens should questions themselves on the effects the decrease in biodiversity can have on future generations and promote sustainable development.


Tan, M. (2015, June 25). Antarctic biodiversity faces increased threats despite isolation. The Guardian. Retrieved from



This was an interesting post! You did an excellent job of going into detail regarding who is responsible for this decrease in biodiversity and why it is such a large issue as described in your news article. As you’ve stated, government’s are prioritizing their economic interests rather than the ecological impacts on the environment. In my opinion, this will ultimately end up being very counter-productive for these government’s in the long run because in the end, they are making steps that are diminishing their economic resources and leave them in a truly difficult situation. The bottom line is that in the majority of cases, these practices are not sustainable for the future.

What do you part of the economy that is related to Antarctic and southern ocean biodiversity will be most impacted in the future? Are there certain species that you see as in a more difficult situation than others?

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