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VIDEO: Safeguarding Antarctica's 'Serengeti'

The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, consisting of 24 countries — including the United States, Russia and China — and the European Union, has agreed to set aside a portion of ocean about the size of Alaska in the Ross Sea as a marine reserve.

The Ross Sea is relatively untouched by humans, and its nutrient-rich waters support about 16,000 species, including minke whales, crabeater seals, emperor penguins and Chilean sea bass.

This PBS News Hour report provides more details:

The protection will start in December 2017 and continue for 35 years.

Human activities will be limited to meet conservation, habitat protection, ecosystem monitoring and fishery management objectives. Most commercial fishing will be banned, although researchers will be allowed to take limited samples.