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Strengthening environmental protection for South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands

Foreign Office Minister Mark Simmonds welcomes additional measures to safeguard Marine Protected Areas.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


Minister for the Overseas Territories Mark Simmonds has today welcomed the announcement of a set of additional measures to safeguard the sustainable-use Marine Protected Area around the South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands. This is an important part of the long term environmental strategy to protect the unique ecosystem of the South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands.

The new measures, announced by the Government of South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands, include seasonal closures, a ban on all bottom fishing deeper than 2250 metres, and additional closed areas within the existing MPA, which already covers over 1,000,000 km².

They will be monitored through a series of scientific programmes and enforced by a dedicated patrol vessel designed to ensure sustainable management of fishing activity. The new measures will further protect biodiversity in the Southern Ocean and will reinforce South Georgia’s position as one of the highest scoring Marine Stewardship Council certified fisheries in the world.

Speaking after the announcement, Mark Simmonds said:

“I welcome the Government of South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands’ announcement to create additional measures to look after their Marine Protected Area. Their high standard of environmental stewardship and marine protection is crucial in protecting the unique and internationally important biodiversity in the Southern Ocean. I am delighted that the Government of the Territory continues to be among the world leaders in delivering marine and environmental protection.”

The UK is committed to cherishing the rich environmental assets of the UK Overseas Territories, for which they are internationally recognised.

Further information

Government of South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands: New Spatial and Temporal Closed Areas added to SGSSI MPA

Published 21 January 2013