Biosecurity Specialist Provides Technical Support To GSGSSI

The Government of South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands is delighted to share the final report of a recent biosecurity audit. The visit was undertaken by biosecurity specialist Dr Gillian Key from the GB Non-Native Species Secretariat (GBNNSS).

Left: Dr Key meets Samurai, one of GSGSSI’s rodent detection dogs. Right: Ross James & Dr Jill Key observing biosecurity practices of Hans Hanson in Grytviken, South Georgia.

Our Government is never complacent about biosecurity and continually strives to enhance protection of South Georgia. We requested technical support from the GBNNSS to help us identify ways to minimise biosecurity risks to South Georgia. In part, Dr Key’s report provides recommendations to protect the legacy of the South Georgia Heritage Trust’s (SGHT) rat eradication programme which concluded earlier this year with confirmation that South Georgia is rodent free for the first time in over 200 years.

Dr Key visited South Georgia on board the fishery patrol vessel Pharos SG in March of this year, and observed first-hand how all components of the biosecurity system function from pre-departure procedures in the Falklands, through to border checks in the biosecurity facility at King Edward Point, and monitoring for non-native species.

Dr Key concluded:
On the whole, the actions being undertaken to reduce the risk of a rodent incursion to South Georgia are good. Specifically, there is a mix of detection devices being used, people are enthusiastic and aware, and rodent presence is being tackled across the biosecurity continuum: pre-border, border and post-border. There are two additional new elements which would considerably strengthen the system if they go ahead: the rodent detector dogs, and new biosecurity facility.

The Government would like to thank Dr Key and the GBNNSS for providing this valuable technical support, and looks forward to working with our partners and stakeholders to achieve Dr Key’s recommendations to better protect South Georgia from invasive species, this includes working collaboratively with the Falkland Island Government on shared objectives.

Background

  • The Government of South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands requested this audit as part of a GBNNSS project called ‘Tackling Invasive Species in the UK Overseas Territories’, funded from the FCO’s Conflict, Stability and Security Fund.
  • The visit by Dr Key took place between March and April 2018.
  • More information on the rat eradication programme can be found here: www.sght.org/sght-habitat-restoration-project/

 

The GBNNSS Biosecurity Report can be downloaded here.