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. 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. 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.