Marine Biologist

It is great to see that those with licenses to fish in our Maritime Zone (MZ) are proud to share the best practise of their operations whilst working within one of the most highly regulated fisheries in the world.

The recent article by Guy Baker in The Marine Biologist, a magazine published by the Marine Biological Association, discusses the South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands (SGSSI) Marine Protected Area (MPA) and gets the perspective of one of our licensed fishing vessel operators, Peter Thompson of Argos Froyanes Ltd.

The main provisions of the sustainable use MPA are highlighted including complete ban on bottom trawling, depth restrictions on bottom fishing, spatial and temporal closure of the krill fishery to protect penguins and seals, and numerous benthic closed areas. In addition to these MPA provisions, a suite of fisheries management measures implemented through the Commission for the Conservation of Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) and the Government of South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands (GSGSSI) further protect the MZ. Peter Thomson goes on to discuss the issue of sperm whale and orca depredation of toothfish from fishing lines and how this is managed principally by avoidance strategies.

The article also provides an overview of the recent review of the MPA by an advisory group comprised of members of the scientific community, NGO’s, fishing and tourist industry representatives. The review considered over 200+ peer reviewed scientific papers published since the MPA was designated and the advisory group concluded that the MPA was meeting its conservation objectives. The review group identified climate change as the most serious threat to the SGSSI marine ecosystem. Following the review, in December 2018 GSGSSI announced a number of precautionary, evidence-based enhancements to protection in the MPA including a large increase in the proportion of the 1.24 million km2 MPA within which all commercial fishing activity is prohibited, and No-Take Zones now cover over 23% of the MPA (284,000 km2). The new measures were enacted into law on May 29th 2019.

It is only by working in collaboration with the many stakeholders both on and off the water that we will continue to be one of the best managed fisheries in the world.

A full copy of the article can be found at: https://www.mba.ac.uk/issue-12

More information about the enhancements to the SGSSI MPA can be found here.