20 Dec 2013

Critics want changes to Ross Sea body

8:11 pm on 20 December 2013

A third failure to turn the Ross Sea into a marine reserve has prompted some to ask whether the organisation that controls the sea needs an overhaul.

New Zealand and the United States have been making their case to the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources.

The latest failed attempt in Hobart in November this year hasn't deterred the New Zealand Government from trying for a fourth time in 2014.

It believes Russia - the main obstacle to the deal - is beginning to lay its cards on the table.

But environmental groups and academics are raising concerns about the commission, whose objective is the conservation of Antarctic marine life.

One such group, the Antarctic Ocean Alliance, says that has changed and it is now focusing on fishing.

A former diplomat to Russia, Stuart Prior, says resources are now so important that discussions on them need to be had by Government ministers at the highest level - not ministry advisors at a low-level meeting of the commission.

More on this can be heard on Insight on Radio New Zealand's Sunday Morning programme.