South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands Fisheries Update – December 2017


Fishing Industry Meeting – September 2017

The minutes of September’s fishing industry meeting, together with key presentations, are available here. This incorporates a review of the 2016/17 season and forward look. Thank you to everyone who attended and contributed to this annual meeting.



The 36th annual meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) took place between 16 – 27 October 2017. 

A number of changes to conservation measures (CMs) were agreed for the 2017/18 season, a summary of which is set out below. All the changes agreed at CCAMLR are available at:



CM 10-05 (Catch Documentation Scheme): there has been an amendment to the text and Annex 10-05A requiring additional information on transhipments in port.

CM 10-10 (CCAMLR Compliance Evaluation Procedure): Annex 10-10B has been revised to include four categories of compliant, minor non-compliant (Level 1 – minor infringements), non-compliant (Level 2 – non-compliance of moderate severity) and seriously, frequently or persistently non-compliant (Level 3).



CMs 41-02 and 41-03 were updated with new limits on the fishery for Dissostichus spp. in statistical sub-areas 48.3 and 48.4. The following new total allowable catch (TAC) limits were set as follows:

  • CM 41-02 (Limits on the fishery for Dissostichus eleginoides in statistical subarea 48.3). The new total catch limits were agreed in line with UK scientific advice as 2,600 tonnes subdivided between Management Areas: A – 0 tonnes; B – 780 tonnes; and C – 1,820 tonnes. By-catch limits were also set, with a requirement not to exceed 130 tonnes for skates and rays and 130 tonnes for Macrourus
  • CM 41-03 (Limits on the fishery for Dissostichus spp. in statistical subarea 48.4). The new total catch limits were agreed in line with UK scientific advice as: 26 tonnes for Dissostichus eleginoides and 37 tonnes for Dissostichus mawsoni. The by-catch limit for Macrourus to 10.1 tonnes and 3.2 tonnes for skates and rays.

Changes to CM 41-02 and 41-03 have been taken into consideration by the Government of South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands in their licensing arrangements for the forthcoming season, as set out here.



CM 42-01 (Limits on the fishery for Champsocephalus gunnari in Statistical Subarea 48.3) was updated with new catch limits. The new TAC limit was set at 4,733 tonnes in 2017/18 and 3,269 tonnes in 2018/19. These changes will be taken into consideration by the Government of South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands in their licensing arrangements for the forthcoming season.



Krill fishing notifications were approved with 11 vessels notifying to fish in subarea 48.3 and 8 vessels notifying to fish in subarea 48.4.


Scheme of International Scientific Observation

To enhance the safety and welfare of observers serving on fishing vessels operating within the Convention Area, an additional annex has been included in the text of the Scheme of International Scientific Observation (Annex II). This requires vessels to have an Emergency Action Plan in place in the event of an observer becoming seriously ill or injured, falling overboard, and/or dying.


System of Inspection

The Report of Inspection form has been streamlined to aid the timely completion of an inspection at sea. There are no additional requirements within this form so the process of inspections at sea will remain the same.


Fishery Licensing – 2017/18 Season

The Government has announced the launch the next toothfish licensing round for Subareas 48.3 and 48.4. The deadline for applications is close 10 December. A management plan has been published to accompany the documentation; this seeks to provide a clear framework for the management of the fisheries.

The launch of this 4-year licensing round follows a consultation with stakeholders on a number of proposed changes to the way in which the toothfish fishery, and other fisheries in the Maritime Zone, are managed. The changes were proposed in the context of the Government’s ecosystem-based, precautionary approach to fisheries management that continually seeks to raise standards. This licensing round will be established on the basis of existing fisheries legislation. In light of the consultation the Government proposes to consult in more detail on a new compliance and enforcement policy and updated fisheries legislation applicable to all fisheries in the first half of 2018. The intention is that this will be introduced at the end of the 2018 fishing season i.e. at the end of the first year of operation of the 4-year licensing round.

The next 2-year licensing round for icefish is due to be launched in December, and the annual licensing round for krill in January.

Updates to general fishery licensing conditions for the forthcoming season include:

  • enabling access to rodent detection dogs and their handlers, as required, when a vessel is at Stanley for the purpose of identifying and mitigating biosecurity risk;
  • using electronic monitoring such as CCTV to record toothfish longline setting and hauling allowing independent verification of procedures;
  • ensuring appropriate medical equipment and medical supplies and having on board someone who is qualified or trained in first aid and other forms of medical care and who has the necessary knowledge to use the medical equipment and supplies;
  • having access to a prearranged system of medical advice by radio or satellite communication, including specialist advice, which shall be available at all times; and
  • requiring certified English translations of any documentation submitted in support of a licence application that is not originally in English (note: the intention is to ensure the accuracy of translated documents for which an operator may wish to use a suitably competent translator. While GSGSSI is unable to make recommendations there are a range of sources of translators such as the UK Institute of Translation and Interpreting).


First 5-year Review of Marine Protected Area

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.

A summary of the Government’s extensive management and protection measures already in place can be viewed here.