At the conclusion of the 41st meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), the United States underscores its commitment to conserving Antarctic marine living resources.
We welcome CCAMLR’s many important achievements over the past four decades, including substantially decreasing illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing in the Convention Area, significantly reducing mortality of seabirds during fishing, and adopting an impressive suite of conservation measures to conserve unique marine ecosystems and to ensure fisheries are sustainably managed. CCAMLR is also responding to the increasing impacts of climate change on the Convention Area and the marine living resources and ecosystems within it.
These achievements underscore the ongoing need for this unique international organization. CCAMLR, members have demonstrated they can cooperate to conserve Antarctic marine living resources effectively.
It is in this context that we express our serious concern with the approach of the Russian Federation to the discussions at this meeting. As an original signatory of the CAMLR Convention, Russia has committed to utilizing the best available scientific evidence to conserve Antarctic marine living resources.
However, Russia has repeatedly ignored scientific information provided to inform key management decisions to achieve political objectives. These decisions relate to a range of important issues such as climate change, Marine Protected Areas, Vulnerable Marine Ecosystem protections, and fisheries management and research.
Russia’s repeated rejection of the best available scientific information amounts to an abuse of its commitment to participate in consensus-based decision-making. Russia’s actions undermine the integrity of CCAMLR’s decision-making processes and our collective ability and responsibility to achieve the objective of the Convention.
We call on Russia to return to respecting the imperative of science-based decision-making and the ecosystem approach, which underpin CCAMLR’s work. We also call on Russia to respect the rules-based international order, end its war of aggression, and fully withdraw from the sovereign territory of Ukraine.