Antarctic sanctuary plans stumble

U.S., New Zealand fail to compromise on Ross Sea marine sanctuary

The U.S. and New Zealand have failed to agree on a deal that would protect one of the most remote and pristine oceans on Earth.

Delegates from both countries have been attempting for two years to reach an agreement to set aside an Alaska-sized section of Antarctica’s Ross Sea as a marine sanctuary, according to The Associated Press. The area is considered an ideal location to conduct climate and marine-life research away from human influence.

After New Zealand delegates traveled to Washington to work out the details of a compromise, the country’s ruling National Party lawmakers rejected the proposal during a closed meeting and declined to discuss their reasoning. Interest in the fishing industry could be behind the decision, though fishing in the Ross Sea accounts for only $16 million of New Zealand’s $1 billion fishing industry.