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Should the Ross Sea be a marine reserve?

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Digital image / P.K. Stowers
Digital image / P.K. Stowers

New Zealand is unlikely to compromise on its protection plan for the Antarctic's Ross Sea at key talks this year, out of concern that harsher measures on fishing would scupper a deal with other nations.

Twenty-five countries will meet in Germany in July for a last-ditch attempt to establish an enormous marine protected area in the region - 3500km south of New Zealand - after talks in November failed.

The meeting was hugely significant. It was only the second time the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources had held a special interim gathering.

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully said it was crucial to gain a consensus on protection.

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