SANTIAGO – Spanish actor Javier Bardem went down to the depths of the Antarctic Ocean in a Greenpeace submarine to help produce a campaign promoting the creation of the world’s largest protected marine area.
Bardem reached a depth of 270 meters (885 feet) near the Antarctic Peninsula in a two-man submarine navigated by a marine biologist of the conservationist organization.
“As soon as we reached the bottom of the sea, I felt stunned by the incredible variety of colors and of the life surrounding us. I’m not a biologist, but to find a world of pink, yellow and green corals and sponges at the bottom of the Antarctic Ocean was a total surprise for me,” the actor said in a statement published by Greenpeace Chile.
The conservationist organization is on a three-month scientific expedition to demand the creation of the largest protected area on the planet, the Antarctic Marine Sanctuary, covering 1.8 million sq. kilometers (700,000 sq. miles), more than twice the expanse of Chile.
Bardem, together with his brother Carlos and producer-director Alvaro Longoria, set sail this week on the icebreaker Arctic Sunrise to film material for a documentary to be called “Sanctuary.”
“It’s really incredible to go down to the bottom of the Antarctic Ocean and document the existence of all those species, with all its variety of colors, and show the importance of protecting this unique ocean,” Bardem said.
Greenpeace complains that industrial fisheries are currently free to sweep up massive catches of krill, a crustacean that is a key element in the food chain for the entire Antarctic ecosystem, but which are sold for the manufacture of food supplements.
The creation of an Antarctic Marine Sanctuary would mean offering a secure refuge for the more than 9,000 species living in its waters, since it would ban industrial fishing boats from catching them.
In October of this year, the 23 countries belonging to the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), including Chile, will vote on the creation of the Antarctic Marine Sanctuary.