Special Area Management in Ross Sea Region

Throughout the entire Antarctic continent many nations strive to manage and protect wilderness regions to maintain their ecological integrity.

"The purpose of ASMAs is to assist in the planning and coordination of activities within a specified area, avoid possible conflicts, improve cooperation between ATCPs and minimise environmental impacts. ASMAs may include areas where activities pose risks of mutual interference or cumulative environmental impacts, as well as sites or monuments of recognised historical value.

Individual Management Plans are prepared for each ASMA. Entry into an ASMA does not require a permit, but activities are guided by a Code of Conduct set out in the Management Plan. ASMAs may incorporate one or more ASPAs, into which entry is prohibited without a permit."


Locally, the McMurdo Environmental Health & Safety Department designates areas where human disturbance needs to be kept to a minimum, as shown in the map above. Today I went to the Ice Job Fair and instead of seeking out a job, I just wanted to sit down and talk with a Environmental Healthy and Safety representative. We had a wonderful talk and ended on one final note: the Antarctic Treaty that will expire in less than a decade needs to be renewed, otherwise this continent will be open to tourism and mining. Prospectors are already looking into what natural resources Antarctica has to 'offer', i.e. water and minerals, and tourist agencies are already beginning to set foot on the ice. If that treaty is not renewed collaboration amongst nations will become more difficult, and both us don't want to see that happen. So, with a little spark of passion for environmental protection I began digging around our science database and came across several new maps and new presentations regarding Antarctica's environment. I have a month left on the Ice, and it feels like the games are just beginning.