Marine Protected Area

In 2012, GSGSSI created one of the world’s largest, sustainably managed Marine Protected Area (MPA) that encompasses the entire SGSSI Maritime Zone north of 60 °S. The MPA has been carefully designed to ensure the protection and conservation of the regions rich and diverse marine life, while allowing sustainable and carefully regulated fisheries.

The MPA covers a total area of 1.07 million km2, which includes the prohibition of all bottom trawling and a ban on bottom fishing at depths less than 700 m and greater than 2,250 m meaning that 92% of the seafloor is completely protected from fishing activity. No-take zones, extending 12 nautical miles from the coast, were created around South Georgia, Clerke Rocks, Shag and Black Rocks and the South Sandwich Islands, totalling 20,431 km2. These protect South Georgia’s land-based foraging birds and mammals. Other protection measures within the MPA include a network of benthic no-take-zones (NTZ) in previously popular toothfish fishing areas, and closure of the krill fishery in the summer (November 1st until March 31st), – when krill-eating birds and marine mammals are breeding. All these measures provide refuges for fish, protect the benthos and spawning fish and avoid competition between fisheries and land-based foragers.

The Marine Protected Area Plan can be downloaded here.

A summary of the Government’s extensive management and protection measures can be viewed here [.pdf, 1.2mb].

South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands – Marine Protected Area 5-Year Review

November 23rd, 2017

5-Year Review of Sustainable Use Marine Protected Area (MPA) Has Commenced With A Two-Day Workshop

The Government’s first 5-year review of its sustainable use Marine Protected Area (MPA) has commenced with a two-day workshop held at the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge. The workshop incorporated representation from scientists, the fishing industry, the tourist industry, non-governmental organisations and an independent reviewer (Dr Alistair Dunn, MPI New Zealand). The workshop was chaired by Dr Colin Clubbe, Head of Conservation Science at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

The ad-hoc advisory group considered how the scientific understanding of the Maritime Zone had developed in the 5 years since the MPA was designated and assessed the effectiveness of current management and monitoring measures. Priorities for future scientific research and monitoring were considered, including in the context of evidence of ecosystem change and future threats such as climate change and biosecurity.

The group will now begin to synthesise a report to the Government based on the workshop discussions and conclusions. This will include advice or recommendations for consideration by the Government. The report is due to be submitted to Government by May 2018.


MPA review group photo

Marine Protected Area Review Group



October 12th, 2017

Written Submissions Published

The Government is pleased to publish written submissions which it has received in relation to the forthcoming MPA review. They can be downloaded here.


August 1st, 2017

Government Inviting Written Submissions From Stakeholders To Inform The Review Process

(Download .docx version here. Submissions to dof (at) )

The Government of South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands is commencing the first 5-year review of its Marine Protected Area (MPA). It is inviting written submissions from stakeholders to inform the review process.

Submissions should be submitted by close Thursday 31 August. They should be evidence-based and respond directly to the focus of the review:

  • To review, and assess the effectiveness of, existing monitoring measures for evaluating the extent to which the objectives of the sustainable use MPA are met;
  • To consider how scientific understanding of the South Georgia Maritime Zone has developed since 2013;
  • To contribute to priorities for future scientific research, including any new research and monitoring that may be necessary;
  • To provide any initial evidence-based assessment of the effectiveness of current management measures and advice on the degree to which evidence might support any revisions to management measures.

An ad-hoc advisory group will convene in November to undertake the review process and consider the submissions. Membership for the group is being invited from a representative range of stakeholder groups with interests in the Marine Protected Area. The group will be tasked to provide a report to Government by end – May 2018.