Plans for Antarctic marine reserve falter again

(File, AFP)
(File, AFP)

Wellington - A plan to protect a vast swathe of ocean off Antarctica's coast by creating the world's largest marine reserve appears headed for failure for a fourth time.

The countries that make decisions about Antarctic fishing will wrap up a 10-day meeting on Friday in Hobart, Australia.

Most favor a joint US-New Zealand proposal to ban most fishing in a sanctuary sprawling 1.34 million square kilometres, or twice the size of Texas, in the Ross Sea.

But all countries must reach consensus to pass the plan, which they have failed to do at three previous meetings.

US delegation leader Evan Bloom said Thursday a consensus once again appeared unlikely.

Russia has been a past holdout. Political tensions between the US and Russia likely added a hurdle this time.

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