Russia and China are being blamed by delegates to an international conference for the failure of plans to protect 1 million square miles of ocean in Antarctica.
After two weeks of secret sessions in the Australian island state of Tasmania, the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources failed to come to an agreement on new marine reserves, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported Friday.
Marine scientists had spent more than a week thrashing out the details of proposals to protect areas of East Antarctica and the Ross Sea, including a ban on commercial fishing in the reserve areas.
Russia and China turned down the Marine Protected Areas, as did the Ukraine.
The protected areas would have been the largest in the world, delegates said.
"It's very frustrating for most members," conference delegate Bo Fernholm from Sweden said. "I think most members were here and thought that we would be able to get the MPAs, at least one this time."
Australian officials said they would try again.
"We'll be back next year to talk about this proposal again, and because of the indications of support at this year's meeting we expect to achieve consensus at next year's meeting," Tony Flemming, director of the Australian Antarctic Division, said.
The proposals needed support from 24 member countries and the European Union to be adopted, but fell short because of the objections from Russia, China and Ukraine.