Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Fish Fight television program looked at fish stocks around the British Overseas Territory of South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands, commenting on the issue Minister for the Polar Regions, Mark Simmonds, said:
I welcome the attention that Hugh has brought to the issue of fishing in the Southern Ocean. South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands has unique and internationally important biodiversity. The Marine Protected Area declared last year covers over 1,000,000 square kilometres. Within the Marine Protected Area all destructive bottom trawling activities are prohibited and there is a full no-take marine reserve covering 20,000 square kilometres. Last month, new protective measures were announced, including seasonal closures, a ban on all bottom fishing deeper than 2,250 metres and additional no-take areas within the existing MPA.
It is of global importance that sustainable sources of marine protein be found. By demonstrating that a truly well-managed and sustainable fishery can be delivered around South Georgia, the UK is showing leadership to others. As a result, the toothfish fishery, and parts of the icefish and krill fishery have all achieved Marine Stewardship Council accreditation.
I am proud of the UK’s stewardship of this remote Overseas Territory and the UK’s role in striving to ensure that all fishing undertaken in the Southern Ocean is carefully managed and sustainable. Our current focus is supporting international work to establish a network of Southern Ocean Marine Protected Areas.