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In what is being hailed as a “milestone for ocean conservation,” an agreement was reached to establish a marine protected area in Antarctica. The reserve will cover 600,000 square miles (nearly 1.6 million square km)—about twice the size of Texas—in the Ross Sea, which has been called the “Garden of Eden” and the “Serengeti of Antarctica” __________ (1) its rich wildlife. The pristine waters are home __________ (2) an estimated 16,000 species, including significant populations of killer whales and Adélie penguins. Other notable inhabitants include emperor penguins, minke whales, and Weddell seals—as well as krill, a crustacean __________ (3) great importance as food for other animals. Although its remote location has left the sea largely free of humans, environmentalists had worried that it was vulnerable as other waters were depleted of resources. However, as part of the agreement, nearly three-quarters of the reserve will be exempt __________ (4) commercial fishing.
The landmark deal was made __________ (5) October 28, 2016, at the international meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, held __________ (6) Hobart, Australia. It came five years after the United States and New Zealand first proposed a sanctuary to protect “the least altered marine ecosystem __________ (7) Earth.” It took extremely complex negotiations in order ________ (8) arrive at a deal—which was approved by 24 countries and the European Union. When it takes effect in December 2017, the Antarctica reserve will become just the second such sanctuary on the high seas; an area in the South Orkney Islands was established in 2009. Buoyed __________ (9) this success, conservationists hope to add other waters __________ (10) that list.
(Adapted from britannica.com on 28 October 2016)