Penguins waddled around Huddersfield town centre today to highlight environmental problems in the Antarctic Ocean.
The penguins marched around town alongside Huddersfield Greenpeace to spread awareness about the need for the Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary.
If it goes ahead the sanctuary would be the largest protected area on earth, covering 1.8 million square kilometres of ocean. It would be a safe haven for animals like penguins and whales which call the Weddell Sea home, and put the waters off limits to the industrial fishing vessels sucking up the tiny shrimp-like krill on which Antarctic life relies.
The Antarctic Ocean Commission - an international organisation which includes the UK government - will meet in October this year to decide whether the Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary should be created. The UK government, as a member of the Commission, will have a crucial say in whether this ocean sanctuary becomes a reality.
Jeff Rice, a Greenpeace volunteer from Huddersfield, said: “The Antarctic belongs to the people of the world … including Huddersfield! It’s vital that the government support us and the wider UK to help bring this Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary into being.”
Without public pressure, the governments responsible for protecting the Antarctic Ocean will continue to fall short. In late 2017, the Commission failed to create a new sanctuary in the East Antarctic because of lobbying from the fishing industry.
Jeff added: “I hope people in our community help us make history. Sign the Greenpeace petition and join people around the world to create the world’s largest protected area.”