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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