Environmentalists have accused Russia of putting a wrecking ball through negotiations for two huge ocean sanctuaries in Antarctica.

Green groups observing talks in Hobart say proposals for the world's largest marine protected areas (MPAs) have been rejected.

The 25-member Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) has been meeting for the third time on proposals for MPAs in East Antarctica and the Ross Sea that would have doubled the world's ocean reserves.

Australia, France and the European Union had sponsored a 1.6 million square kilometre sanctuary in East Antarctica.

A 1.32 million square kilometre reserve in the Ross Sea had been proposed by the US and New Zealand.

"A few countries led by the Russian delegation put a wrecking ball through the negotiations and we're left to fight for another year," the Antarctic Ocean Alliance's Steve Campbell told AAP.

"It seems there is some agenda within particularly the Russian delegation that doesn't match with CCAMLR's conservation mandate."

Ukraine is also believed to have opposed the creation of the MPAs, while China reportedly did not support the East Antarctica plan.

Mr Campbell said fishing concerns were behind the failure to reach the consensus needed by CCAMLR.

"This is peculiar because actually many of the proponent countries have fishing interests in the Southern Ocean but they can clearly see that the establishment of marine protection is in the long-term economic and ecosystems' interests," he said.

Scientists joined green groups in slamming the outcome.

"Science continues to do its part," the University of Auckland's Associate Professor Clive Evans said.

"It's the politicians that now need to do theirs."

An official statement form CCAMLR was yet to be released.

Australia's new environment minister Greg Hunt issued a brief response.

"We understand progress has been made," he said.

"We will not stop until the job is done."

Mr Campbell, whose alliance comprises 30 of the world's most influential environmental groups, vowed to do everything to convince dissenting countries.

"President Putin is a proud defender of wilderness of all kinds and I think we need to get the message home there that we really rely on the leadership of Russia to help this initiative get across the line, because the Russian delegation here in Hobart certainly isn't," he said.

 

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