Marine expert Barry Weeber will be in Wanganui for a screening of the documentary The Last Ocean on Thursday in the Davis Lecture Theatre.
The film is about the Southern Antarctic Ocean which oceanographer Sylvia Earle says is the "heart of the world's oceans" as it drives all other oceans and atmospheric systems.
Mr Weeber is involved with the Antarctic Ocean Alliance working toward a network of designated no-take marine reserves and protected areas in the Southern Ocean.
The 25 nations in the Commission on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources meet in Hobart late this year to regulate fisheries.
"Some areas will be protected and other areas will be restricted to fishing some months of the year," he said, describing it as a first step to greater protection.
The Antarctic oceans represent 10 per cent of the world's seas but its ecosystems are essential for the survival of 10,000 unique species of marine animals. New Zealand has four vessels commercially fishing for the Antarctic toothfish, which is mostly exported to high-value restaurants in New York.
In 1996 New Zealand opened up this area for commercial fishing, the first country to do so.
But there is now a lot of momentum to protect this vulnerable ocean, and particularly the Ross Sea which is within New Zealand's area of jurisdiction in Antarctica.
Wanganui artist Sue Cooke is passionate about the Antarctic and the environment and says it is a golden opportunity to see, hear and ask questions of Mr Weeber about a vital conservation effort in our area.
Ms Cooke is currently exhibiting "The Paradise Project" about art, Antarctica and sustainability at the Sarjeant Gallery.
In 1991, there was global agreement to protect the Antarctic land mass from mineral exploitation and preserve it as a natural reserve dedicated to peace and science.
The Last Ocean, directed and produced by Peter Young, at the Davis Lecture Theatre, Thursday, August 1, 7.30pm. Entry by koha, supper provided.