A high level international meeting about whether the Ross Sea should become a marine protected area failed to reach a conclusion last night.
Foreign Minister Murray McCully says it's disappointing the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources decided to delay discussions on the proposal until next July.
He says the challenge is finding agreement from 25 different countries.
Mr McCully says New Zealand and the US have come up with a middle ground proposal that he hopes will find eventual acceptance.
"The fishing nations aren't simply going to go home without being part of some sort of future regime. Science needs to take place if we are to understand what's going on down there, and we also need to put a high value on conservation."