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
19th June, 2018
Record of the November 2017 MPA Review Workshop Published
The Government is pleased to publish the record of the first MPA review workshop, held in November 2017. The record can be downloaded here.
Final 2-day Marine Protected Area workshop to be held on 11th-12th June
The Government is this month holding the final meeting of its ad-hoc Advisory Group tasked with providing advice as part of the first 5-year review of the sustainable use Marine Protected Area (MPA) in place at South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands. An initial meeting was held in November 2017.
The Group is independently chaired and incorporates representation from scientists, the fishing industry, the tourist industry, non-governmental organisations and an independent external reviewer. It has been tasked to report to the Government on:
- the effectiveness of existing monitoring measures for evaluating the extent to which the objectives of the sustainable use MPA are met;
- how scientific understanding of the South Georgia Maritime Zone has developed since 2013;
- priorities for future scientific research, including any new research and monitoring that may be necessary; and
- 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.
The review process has already taken stock of a significant body of evidence, including over 200 peer-reviewed scientific papers published since the MPA was established in 2012. A list of the publications considered can be found here [pdf, 0.3mb]. Information on recent and planned research and monitoring activities, as well as key future research questions, were also identified by a Darwin-Plus funded workshop held in May 2017, which involved 33 participants from 12 institutions including UK universities and NGOs.
Following the Advisory Group’s meeting in November initial assessments have been made of the effectiveness of current management and monitoring measures and some initial conclusions drawn in relation to priorities for future research and monitoring. These will be further considered at the next meeting following which the Group will report with advice to the Government. The Government will consider the panel’s advice and consult, as necessary, on any management changes arising from this.
The Advisory Group is welcoming further submissions of evidence relevant to the review in advance of its next meeting and has invited experts to give evidence in person. Written evidence should be submitted by 5th June to Sue Gregory.
The South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands sustainable-use Marine Protected Area was established in 2012 on the basis of scientific evidence to ensure the protection and conservation of the region’s rich and diverse marine life, while allowing sustainable and carefully regulated fisheries to world-class standards. The MPA is situated within waters falling within the international Convention for the Conservation for Antarctic Marine Living Resources. The objective of the Convention is conservation where conservation includes rational use.
The Government of South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands has invited submissions from all interested parties to input into the review process which is being independently chaired with representation from scientists, NGOs, the fishing industry, the tourism industry and an independent external reviewer. The Advisory Group will consider the scientific evidence for any changes to management measures and provide advice to Government.
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.
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
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.