Protection at Earth’s end

Pair of Antarctic marine reserves would be planet’s largest

Two proposed Antarctic marine protected areas would become the largest marine reserves on the planet if approved.

One proposal, submitted by the United States and New Zealand, would cover a 600,000-square-mile patchwork of ocean around the Ross Sea, while the other, submitted by Australia, France and the European Union, would cover another 600,000 square miles in East Antarctica. Combined, the reserves would cover an area roughly the size of India, according to National Geographic News. However, the protections would have expiration dates—the East Antarctic reserve would have to be renewed in 2043, while the Ross Sea reserve would have until 2064.

The proposals must be approved by a group of 24 nations and the European Union in a meeting from July 11 to 16 in Bremerhaven, Germany.