More than 200 marine scientists are in Hobart to decide the future of areas proposed as marine reserves in Antarctica.
The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources will open its annual meeting in Hobart this morning.
Hundreds of scientists from 24 countries and the European Union will spend the next 9 days debating two major proposals.
The Commission is considering the creation of a series of marine protected areas off the east coast of Antarctica.
It would effectively ban fishing in 1.6 million square kilometres of untouched ocean.
The other proposal is for a protected zone for the Ross Sea, jointly suggested by the US and New Zealand.
That proposal was reduced by 40 per cent under pressure from Russia and Ukraine at the Commission’s last meeting in Germany in July.