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Is it penguin or human? Important MPA Antarctic swim-bid.

By Paul Robinson - 03 Feb 2015 16:20:1 GMT
Is it penguin or human? Important MPA Antarctic swim-bid.

We don’t expect vast crowds to greet Lewis on his amazing swim marathon across the Ross Sea, starting Friday, February 13th, but the enthusiasm among the emperors could build! He has 5 tough, cold swims.Emperor penguin image; Credit: © Lewis Pugh

With the onset of the winter swimming season for hardy souls, it is interesting to notice Lewis Pugh swim in high summer- in the Antarctic! This is really a cold swim, despite his disregard for the normal dry suit. He is swimming only in speedos, just as he has in the world’s first swim across the North Pole. That earned him the nickname Human Polar Bear, but there are no polar bears in the Antarctic. We suggest he is most likely to see emperor penguins in this area, although aggressive leopard seals, whales and giant squid could present the same danger as the bears. His site is here for more information on why you should tweet #5swims.

The other names for Lewis, apart from adventurous, are Russian nagger, as he aims to present the Ross Sea as an undisputed Marine Protection Area (MPA), UNPatron of the Oceans and swim record holder. His own reasons for this swim, as a marine lawyer and advocate of environmental restraint, are to persuade the Russian Chairman this year of the CCAMLR (Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources) to create the Ross Sea MPA. He regards the pristine Sea highly as you can tell from his language: as well as being outstandingly beautiful, the Ross Sea is home to some extraordinary animals, such as the Antarctic Toothfish, whose heart beats only 10 times per minute to conserve energy, the Colossal Squid, which weighs up to 500kgs, and the Emperor Penguin. Over the past 30 years I’ve seen the devastating impacts of overfishing and climate change on our oceans. If we allow the Ross Sea to go the same way, its unique riches may be lost forever. My hope is that these symbolic swims will bring the beauty and wonder of Antarctica into the hearts and homes of people around the world so they will urge their governments to protect this unique ecosystem, which is truly a polar Garden of Eden.

The 1.34 million km2 MPA proposed will be even bigger than the largest Pacific MPAs. While Russia has the Chair of the CCAMLR, they have the opportunity to set an example in the real conservation of valuable resources. Many explorations and research studies have been carried out by the Russian nation, along with Norway, the US, the UK and Argentina. The problems Lewis mentions are a regular feature with us, comprising overfishing, marine pollution and exploitation of resources, such as in Threats to Antarctic Marine Ecosystems

Lewis Pugh has earned his reputation the hard way, with other records such as the southernmost swim in history, the highest altitude swim in a glacial lake on Mount Everest. The painful cold will be endured 5 times on this occasion. From Perseverance Harbour on Campbell Island to the last swim on Peter Ist Island, he will be swimming in 1km beats, taking 20 minutes each. He starts on 13thFebruary, so your support will be needed on Twitter using the hashtag #5swims. Get those fingers moving - Lewis couldn’t move his properly for 4 months after his single Arctic swim!