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 News/Summer 2003

The Austral winter is quiet in many ways - the breeding colonies and cruise ships are gone - but other activities continue. The human residents of South Georgia take the chance to set off into the snow for a spot of skiing whenever possible - and the Bay at Grytviken is busy with fishing fleets arriving for the season. We were lucky enough to get some news through from Pat Lurcock - the Marine officer - and we present some of his news first.


In 2002 we had visits as follows:

Cruise ships:
Yachts: 16
MOD: 11
BAS: 8
Fishery Patrol: 11
Fishing Vessels and cargo ships: 114
Other: 1 (Braveheart - with radio ham team)

These are ship visits to SG. Some visit KEP more than once per trip, especially yachts, so we had a total of 203 harbour visits. Our maximum since reliable record keeping started in 1992.

Total Harbour visits by year:

1992 78 landing toothfish
1993 59
1994 96
1995 127
1996 120
1997 107
1998 102
1999 119
2000 136
2001 195
2002 203

Tourism Stats 2002/2003 season.

45 Visits by Cruise ships, including 2 Visits by Big sailing ships: 3,606 passengers and 6,783 altogether (though many crew and staff will be included here more than once)

14 Yacht visits with 89 people on board (includes Glory of the Sea - arrived in May)

This year we have had 141 harbour visits up to the end of June (Last year's 99 was the highest since I started here in 1992, though 1990 and 1991 were higher with the large Soviet fleets coming in to tranship) Fishing Licenses: Icefish. Over the 2002/2003 summer, three vessels fished (Chile, UK/FI, Korea) for icefish and caught 2,158t. (CCAMLR TAC 2,181t) Krill: In 2002 there were 8 vessels fishing (USA, Korea, Ukraine, Japan, Poland) and caught 45,512 tonnes.(CCAMLR TAC 1,056,000t) Toothfish: In 2002 there were 15 longliners licensed to catch toothfish.

Nations Chile, Korea, Russia, S Africa, Spain, Uruguay, UK (FI / St Helena). Total catch 5,535t of TAC 5,400t This year (still fishing): Toothfish. 18 Licenses. CCAMLR TAC 7,810t. By end of June 4,696t taken. Krill: So far 9 licenses issued (USA, Korea, Ukraine, Russia, Poland, Japan). Catch to end of June was 24,755 tonnes - another record.


Fieldwork Season 2003-2004

A photographic survey of all Black-browed and Grey-headed Albatross colonies of South Georgia is scheduled from 24 November to 24 December 2003. On-going monitoring of Wandering Albatross nest distribution, tourist landings and areas visited, and impact of fur seals on the vegetation of the islands will also be conducted at 2 key visitor sites - Albatross Island and Prion Island - with an early November visit to census Wandering Albatross fledglings, and a second visit in January to count breeding pairs and monitor fur seal impact. An environmental survey of Annenkov Island is also scheduled, and will include a census of the island's Wandering Albatross population, the second largest at South Georgia.

This research programme is financed by the Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, and the United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Making up the survey team are Sally Poncet, project coordinator and principal researcher; Graham Robertson, project co-researcher; Kim Crosbie, researcher for the South Georgia Visitors Guide; and a member of the Falklands Conservation Seabirds at Sea Team. The photosurvey is to be done from the sailing vessel, Ada II owned by Celia Bull and skippered by Dion Poncet. The survey team will be working in collaboration with British Antarctic Survey who is providing data from the Bird Island study colonies and historical data from past surveys.

The importance of conducting seabird population censuses is now internationally recognised in the light of evidence that population declines are a direct result of seabird mortality due to long-lining fisheries activities. The Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands is committed to working with the international community to reduce this seabird mortality and an assessment of the current size of the South Georgia's Wandering Albatross, Black-browed Albatross and Grey-headed Albatross populations is part of this effort. In addition, the Government is continuing its support of the long-term monitoring programme at two key visitor sites, investigating potential tourism impacts on Wandering Albatross and the development of appropriate conservation management strategies. Wandering Albatross



Falklands-Malvinas - Wednesday, 02 July
BAS farewell to Antarctic veteran mariner.

The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) has finally said goodbye to its veteran Antarctic captain, Stewart Lawrence, after a series of farewell parties marking his 33 annual voyages to the Antarctic, and 42 years at sea.

That wraps up the news and events for Autumn 2003, but keep an eye out for our next update.

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