Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Seals

The Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Seals (CCAS) is part of the Antarctic Treaty System. It was signed at the conclusion of a multilateral conference in London on February 11, 1972.[1]


CCAS had the objective "to promote and achieve the protection, scientific study, and rational use of Antarctic seals, and to maintain a satisfactory balance within the ecological system of Antarctica.[2]

CCAS forbids the killing or capture of Antarctic seals except in specific circumstances.[2] The contracting parties of CCAS may decide the standards for killing and capture as dynamics of the seal populations change, and these decisions should be "based upon the best scientific and technical evidence available".[2]

CCAS also mandates communication between the different countries that signed it regarding all research, hunting, and capture of seals.[2] The scientific aspect of this communication is done through the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research.[2]


The geographic range of the agreement covers all seas south of 60°S latitude.[2] It protects the following seal species:[2]

At the time of creation, all fur seals in the Antarctic area where in the genus Arctocephalus, however since then many species formerly in that genus have been reclassified under Arctophoca with only A. pusillus remaining.[3][4]


Shortly after the discovery of Antarctica, people began hunting seals at an unsustainable rate.[5] Many species were close to extinction before the signing of CCAS.[5]

It was opened for ratification on June 1, 1972,[2] and entered into force on March 11, 1978.[6]

The 17 parties to CCAS are Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, Poland, Russia, South Africa, United Kingdom, and the United States.[7] New Zealand has signed, but not ratified the convention.[citation needed]

The countries meet at least every five years after 1972 to review CCAS, as is mandated in Article 7.[2]


  1. ^ Wolfrum, Rüdiger; Bockslaff, Klaus, eds. (1984). Antarctic Challenge: Conflicting Interests, Cooperation, Environmental Protection, Economic Development Proceedings of an Interdisciplinary Symposium, June 22nd-24th, 1983. Institut für Internationales Recht an der Universität Kiel. Vol. 88. Berlin: Duncker & Humblot. p. 99. ISBN 3-428-05540-3.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Seals (1972)". British Antarctic Survey. Retrieved 2021-08-01.
  3. ^ Berta, Annalisa; Churchill, Morgan (2012). "Pinniped taxonomy: review of currently recognized species and subspecies, and evidence used for their description". Mammal Review. 42 (3): 207–234. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2907.2011.00193.x. ISSN 1365-2907.
  4. ^ "The monophyletic origin of sea lions and fur seals (Carnivora; Otariidae) in the Southern Hemisphere". Gene. 441 (1–2): 89–99. 2009-07-15. doi:10.1016/j.gene.2009.01.022. ISSN 0378-1119.
  5. ^ a b McCahey, Daniella; Aless; Antonello, ro (2020-11-21). "200 Years Ago, People Discovered Antarctica. The Slaughter Began Soon After". The Wire Science. Retrieved 2021-08-01.
  6. ^ "History of the Convention". Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources. 23 October 2019. Archived from the original on 2019-12-05. Retrieved 2021-08-01.
  7. ^ "Parties". Secretariat of the Antarctic Treaty. Archived from the original on 2019-09-30. Retrieved 2021-08-01.