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With 598,000 square miles of protected area, a space twice the size of Texas, one of the world’s most untouched areas will now be sure to stay that way.

A coalition of 24 countries, including the European Union, U.S., and finally Russia, has approved a plan to make the Ross Sea, a huge oceanic area off of Antarctica, the world’s largest protected marine reserve. 

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This means that in an area twice the size of Texas, multiple species of penguins, whales, seals, and fish will now have a guaranteed space safe from any commercial use, where they’ll be able to live out their lives peacefully. Although the area already remains relatively untouched by humans, there had been talks previously, primarily from Russia and China, of beginning to use the area commercially, but now both countries have agreed to let this beautiful area rest in peace. 

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Although the area’s protected status will not go into effect until December 1, 2017, this will go a long way toward preserving marine life. And although some fishermen do use the area to hunt for Chilean sea bass (actually called the Antarctic toothfish), making it an important area to their livelihoods, a few select zones will remain open to fishing but not to any other commercial use, with over 432,000 square miles of the reserve completely protected from fishermen.

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So, what’s the bottom line here?

A beautiful sea will remain beautiful and full of life for years to come, and penguins, whales, seals, and fish will have a safe haven where they can live in peace.

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