press releases and notices

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(All documents can be downloaded here)


2014


Reindeer Eradication Project


(19/02/14)

Landmark Reindeer Eradication Project Helps Protect SG’s Native Biodiversity

The Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (GSGSSI) is pleased to announce the completion of a major project to eradicate reindeer from the island of South Georgia. The project, which was undertaken during two austral summers, included the humane removal of over 6,600 non-native reindeer from the island.


Download the press release here [pdf, 0.4mb]






2013


Reindeer Eradication Project


A Significant Step Forward In Protecting South Georgia’s Environment


Reindeer herding with the derelict Husvik whaling station in the background. (Photograph – Samantha Crimmin)
Reindeer herding with the derelict Husvik whaling station in the background. (Photograph – Samantha Crimmin)


(18/03/13)

The GSGSSI is pleased to announce the completion of the first phase of the eradication of reindeer from the Island of South Georgia. The first phase of the project, which ran throughout January and February 2013, saw the removal of over 1900 animals from the Busen area (one of two peninsulas on South Georgia that were inhabited by reindeer).


Norwegian whalers introduced the reindeer to two parts of the island in the early 1900s and Norwegian expertise has been instrumental in their demise. Reindeer numbers increased after whaling ceased in the mid-1960s and they have had a devastating impact on the island’s vegetation, with knock-on effects on native bird species.


Download the full press release here [pdf, 0.5mb]


Fencing in the corral area. (Photograph - Alastair Wilson).
Fencing in the corral area. (Photograph - Alastair Wilson).





New Spatial and Temporal Closed Areas added to SGSSI MPA

(Monday January 21st 1100 hrs GMT)


Following scientific advice and a stakeholder consultation the Government of South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands (GSGSSI) is delighted to announce the addition of extra spatial and temporal protection to the existing South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands Marine Protected Area (SGSSI MPA). The additional measures will add extra protection to the SGSSI MPA, which was created in February 2012 and covers over 1 million km2 of the highly productive waters around the islands.


Download the full press release 'New Spatial and Temporal Closed Areas added to the South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands Marine Protected Area' here [pdf, 0.3mb]





2012


Marine Protected Areas Consultation

(05/10/12)


On February 29th 2012 GSGSSI created a large Marine Protected Area in the SGSSI Maritime Zone, north of 60 degrees south. The creation of the MPA established in law much of the protection that was already in place through fisheries licensing policies.


Following the declaration a scientific workshop was convened in Cambridge in April 2012 to consider what extra protection may be appropriate. The workshop coincided with the completion of two major scientific projects funded by the Darwin Initiative and Overseas Territories Environment Programme that investigated marine biodiversity (Darwin) and the development of Marine Protected Areas generally (OTEP).


The outcome from that meeting was a set of proposals for additional spatial and temporal protection in the MPA. GSGSSI are now considering those proposals and would welcome comments from stakeholders. Details of the proposals are contained in a document entitled “SGSSI MPA Consultation Oct 2012.pdf” that is available below.


Please send any comments to ceo@gov.gs (cc’d to mfs@gov.gs) by November 2nd 2012. In particular it would be helpful if you could consider the following questions:


1. Are additional spatial and temporal closed areas in the MPA necessary?


2. Which of the proposed spatial and temporal closed areas (if any) do you support and why?


3. Which of the spatial and temporal closed areas (if any) do you not support and why?


(GSGSSI)


Documents







GSGSSI New Environment Officer Take Up Post In Stanley

(07/05/12)

Dr Jennifer Lee: Environment Officer
Dr Jennifer Lee: Environment Officer


Dr Jennifer Lee has recently joined GSGSSI as Environment Officer. Jennifer has diverse interests in terrestrial ecology spanning invasion biology, species distribution modelling at micro and macro scales, community ecology, biogeomorphology, molecular ecology and invertebrate physiology. She has a passion for the conservation of polar regions and has worked throughout the Antarctic and sub-Antarctic.


Prior to joining GSGSSI, Jennifer was based at the Centre of Excellence for Invasion Biology at Stellenbosch University, South Africa. Here she completed her PhD, which concerned the quantification of species movements in the Antarctic region and the consequences thereof. A particular emphasis of this work was to provide evidence based policy advice to National Antarctic Programmes.


Upon completion of her PhD she took up a post-doctoral fellowship in collaboration with the British Antarctic Survey, where she used phylogeographic techniques to test the major hypotheses proposed for the existence of refugia for arthropods in Antarctica. This work has implications for understanding the region’s evolutionary history and for the development of intra-regional biosecurity measures.


Outside of work Jennifer enjoys activities which allow her to experience the great outdoors and is a keen cyclist, runner, and wildlife photographer. She has also been involved in a number of voluntary organisations including the UK Mountain Rescue and the South African based Volunteer Wildfire Services.




SGSSI Marine Protected Area Management Plan

(27/02/12)

The Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands is delighted to announce the creation of one of the world's largest Marine Protected Areas around South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.

  • The Press Release can be downloaded here [pdf, 0.3mb] .
  • The Marine Protected Area Management Plan can be downloaded here (v1.01) [pdf, 8mb].








2011



Court Dismisses Judicial Review Action Brought Against the DoF

Court dismisses judicial review action brought against the SG Director of Fisheries

On Tuesday November 22nd the Supreme Court of the Falkland Islands (which has jurisdiction over South Georgia matters) dismissed an application for Judicial Review of the allocation of licences by the Director of Fisheries, Dr Martin Collins. The dismissal followed the withdrawal of the application by the claimants, Copemar SA and Beauchene Fishing Company Ltd, less than an hour before the court was due to convene. The Chief Justice further ordered that the applicants pay the costs of the respondents.

Download full note here [docx, 0.02mb].





New Stamp Release: SG Petrels by the Artist John Gale

There are 125 species of tubenose birds, which include the petrels and albatrosses. The four species illustrated on this set of stamps represent three species of fulmarine petrel and one species of diving petrel. These birds inhabit an oceanic environment, feeding on the abundant food supply present in the Southern Ocean. They nest and breed on many islands in the Southern Ocean, including South Georgia, the three species of fulmarine petrel also breed on the South Sandwich Islands.

The full press release can be downloaded here [doc, 0.04mb].

The stamps are due for release on 10th August 2011. For additional information, please contact John Smith, Pobjoy Mint Ltd, Tel: (44) 1737 818181 Fax: (44) 1737 818199 email: jcs137@pobjoy.com







2010


Enactment of the Wildlife and Protected Areas Ordinance (2011)

The Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands is pleased to announce the enactment of the Wildlife and Protected Areas Ordinance (2011). This is a significant moment for a Territory that is home to some of the highest densities of wildlife on Earth. The Ordinance replaces legislation which is in some instances nearly 100 years old, and provides for the protection of wildlife and habitats on land and at sea.

The full press release can be downloaded here [pdf, 0.6mb].




Pharos To Collect Scientific Data

28/3/11: This March saw the first tow of the continuous plankton recorder off the PV Pharos between the Falkland Islands and South Georgia. Also, to coincide with the first deployment of the CPR and to celebrate the life and work of Sir Alister Hardy a set of four stamps have been released. For details download here [doc, 1.4mb].




Postal Services Ordinance Consultation

25/3/11: GSGSSI welcomes comments on the draft Postal Services Ordinance, which can be downloaded here [pdf, 0.2mb].

The Ordinance defines the postal services that will be offered in South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, including categories of post, registration of post and insurance. The schedule to the Ordinance provides details of postal charges in force since 1st July 2010. The Ordinance also defines the duties and powers of a Postal Officer.

Please submit any comments to Martin Collins by April 21st 2011.





Management of introduced reindeer on South Georgia

19/2/11: Due to the detrimental impact of reindeer on native species, the threat of glacial retreat and following stakeholder consultation, GSGSSI has decided to undertake a full eradication of reindeer. Download the press release here [pdf, 1mb].




Administrative Penalty Issued to Longline Fishing Vessel

On May 16th 2010 the operators of a longline vessel, fishing under licence in GSGSSI waters, were issued with an Administrative Penalty Notice (under Section 21 of the Fisheries (Conservation & Management) Ordinance 2000) for failure to report the killing of two albatross and for the discarding of hooks, including baited hooks. Both offences were in contravention of Section 5 of the Fisheries (Conservation and Management) Ordinance 2000.

The vessel operators subsequently admitted the offences and were issued with a penalty of £25,000, which has now been paid.

GSGSSI takes any contravention of licence conditions extremely seriously, particularly when they may lead to the killing of seabirds.


Martin Collins

Director of Fisheries, GSGSSI




GSGSSI One Month Visitor Fee Policy

GSGSSI Revised Implementation Date For One Month Visitor Fee Policy

Following engagement with IAATO members during the course of the 2010 IAATO meeting and discussions held in the aftermath of the meeting, the Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands has taken the decision to defer the implementation of the one month visitor fee structure until the start of the 2011/12 season. This will align the introduction of this fee with the introduction of the 72hr visitor fee supplementary charge, so that both fee structures will commence at the start of the 2011/12 season on 1 July 2011.

Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands 7 July 2010

Download the notice here




South Georgia Heritage Trust Habitat Restoration Project

GSGSSI are pleased to announce that, following stakeholder consultation, conditional approval has been given to the SGHT for the first phase of the Habitat Restoration project to proceed in February-April 2011. The conditions that apply are as follows:

1. A minimum of two helicopters should be used throughout the project, although an exception can be made for the Greene Peninsula, where a single helicopter operation will be acceptable;

2. SGHT take out adequate insurance, to amounts agreed with GSGSSI, to cover all aspects of the project;

3. Detailed documentation, including risk assessments, biosecurity plans, oil spill response and search and rescue plans are submitted in good time to GSGSSI for approval.

The project, which aims to eradicate rats from the Thatcher, Mercer and Greene peninsulas on South Georgia, is a major undertaking and, if successful, should result in a dramatic increase in the numbers of ground nesting birds.




South Georgia Toothfish Recertified With Flying Colours

Note the full press release with 'Notes to Editors' can be downloaded here

Following its five-yearly Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) re-assessment, the South Georgia toothfish fishery has been re-certified as a sustainable and well-managed fishery. Originally certified in 2004, the fishery received an average score of 93 % in its reassessment, making it the third highest scoring of the 52 current MSC certified fisheries.

Despite this success, the Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (GSGSSI), who manage the fishery, has pledged a continued commitment to further improving the fishery. This will include an extensive programme of scientific work in order to support management of the fishery over the next 5 years.

Dr Martin Collins, Director of Fisheries at the GSGSSI says: “We are delighted that the toothfish fishery has been recertified and the excellent scores attained reflect the efforts made by the GSGSSI, its scientific consultants and fishing industry to ensure the fishery is managed sustainably. South Georgia is a unique environment and the GSGSSI will continue in its efforts to improve all aspects of the fishery.”

Foreign Office Minister, Chris Bryant said: "It's great news that the South Georgia toothfish fishery has done so well - a tribute to all those involved and South Georgia's commitment to the sustainable management of its fisheries. It's also a fine demonstration of how Governments, the Fishing Industry and Scientists, working together, can achieve excellent results for both the environment and the economy. "

Rupert Howes, Chief Executive of the MSC adds: “The South Georgia toothfish fishery has excelled in its re-certification scoring significantly higher than the first assessment. It is deeply gratifying to see the GSGSSI commit to further improvements in the fishery which has already made such great strides forward. By leading the way in toothfish certification, the SG toothfish fishery has created a market for certified sustainable toothfish that is now – deservedly – thriving.”

Contacts:

Dr Martin Collins, Director of Fisheries, Government of South Georgia, Stanley, Falkland Islands. Tel: +500 28214; here

James Simpson, Marine Stewardship Council. Tel: +44 (0)207 811 3315; e-mail: here




Fake “Coins” Of SGSSI

(Aug 2009)


The Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands has been alerted to the existence of a collection of nine metallic pieces depicting various UK places and which purport to be coins issued by this Administration. The obverse of these apparently Bi-Metallic pieces carries an effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the wording South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands and the date 2008.

Reverse images recorded are Chester Penny, Edinburgh, Horse Guards of London, Lincoln Cathedral, The Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, Westminster School, Windsor Castle, and York Castle Museum

The Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands wishes to state categorically that these Bi-Metallic pieces should be treated as fakes for the following reasons:-

1) They have been issued without the authority of the Administration.

2) No legislation exists to allow for coins to be produced under the name of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands which are Bi-Metallic or base metal, dual plated.

3) Such designs have not been presented to Buckingham Palace for approval by Her Majesty The Queen as is required for all coin designs of the Administration which bear Her Majesty’s effigy on the obverse.

4) Copyright for the image of Her Majesty used on these fake pieces rests with Ian Rank-Broadley FRBS FSNAD and this uncouped image has been licensed exclusively for use by Pobjoy Mint Ltd which company confirms that it has not produced these items.

The Administration of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands takes this matter very seriously and will, in conjunction with Pobjoy Mint Ltd and the relevant external Authorities, take all actions possible to identify the producers of these fake items and welcomes any information from any party who may be able to assist in tracing said producers.



Fire On The Fishing Vessel In Sung 22 In South Georgia Waters

June 17th 1300 hrs

On Tuesday 16th June 2009 at around 1400 (local) the GSGSSI were notified that the Korean flagged fishing vessel In Sung 22 had a fire on board and required assistance. The In Sung 22 is a long-line vessel licensed to fish in South Georgia waters and was approximately 60 nautical miles east of South Georgia (54o27’ S; 34o42’ W).

At the time of the incident the FPV Pharos SG was on passage from Stanley to South Georgia, but was more than 24 hrs away from the location of the In Sung 22. The nearest fishing vessel, the Argos Froyanes, which was 70 nautical miles away was contacted and asked to assist. The Argos Froyanes ceased fishing and proceeded to the location of the vessel.

The Argos Froyanes reached the In Sung 22 late on the evening on the 16th. The In Sung 22 had lost engine power, but there were no reported injuries. The Argos Froyanes took the vessel in tow towards Cumberland Bay. The fire is believed to have started in the rear of the accommodation section of the vessel. The In Sung 22 has 40 crew on board, plus an observer (UK). The nationalities of the crew are Korea 8, Vietnam 13, Indonesia 14, Philippines 4 and China 1. There are no reported casualties or injuries.

The FPV Pharos will rendezvous with the Argos Froyanes and In Sung 22 in Cumberland Bay and assess the situation.

The vessel owners are sending another vessel, the In Sung Ho, from the South Orkneys to Cumberland Bay to assist the In Sung 22.

The has been no environmental damage as a result of the fire, but GSGSSI will continue to monitor the situation and would like to thank Argos and the captain and crew of Argos Froyanes for their assistance.

GSGSSI



New Senior Executive Officer For South Georgia Government

(16/02/09)


The Government of South Georgia is delighted to announce that Dr Martin Collins has been appointed as the new Senior Executive Officer and Director of Fisheries in succession to Harriet Hall. Dr Collins will take up his appointment in May.


Dr Martin Collins
Dr Martin Collins

Martin graduated in Zoology at Reading University in 1989 and in early 1990 took up a position as a Fishery Observer in the Falkland Islands. After a year in the Falklands and a bit of time out to sail across the Atlantic he did a PhD on squid ecology at University College, Cork. Subsequent research work focussed on cephalopod ecology and deep-sea fish behaviour and ecology.


He joined BAS as a marine ecologist in June 2002 to work on the Scotia Sea ecosystem. This position has led him to visit South Georgia on many occasions and has also led to his involvement in South Georgia fisheries as a member of the UK delegation to the Scientific Committee of Commission on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).




Contact details for Dr Collins are:

Email: email

Tel: +44 (0)1223 221400



Gentoo Chick Mortality (22/01/09)

(A detailed report can be downloaded as a pdf here.)


Visitors to South Georgia this season have reported that many of the Gentoo Penguin colonies are showing signs of high chick mortality. In some cases there are no chicks at all in colonies.


The Government of South Georgia has tasked scientists to collect samples of dead chicks. Diet sampling of adults is also taking place as part of longer-term monitoring which was already underway at two locations on the island.


Preliminary investigations suggest that the mortality is caused by lack of food. Gentoo penguins feed on krill which moves around in the current of the southern ocean after spawning under Antarctic ice. There have been other indications that there is a scarcity of krill around South Georgia this season, although other species which feed on krill do not appear to be affected to the same extent.


Krill is only fished in South Georgia outside the breeding season in winter months (May – August) and the swarms which are targeted will already have moved away from the Island in the currents. Krill abundance tends to be cyclical. The present lack of krill is most likely to be caused by a poor spawning season further south. The last three recorded instances of such high chick mortality were in 1991, 1994 and 1998.


As a precaution, all visitors have been asked to remain up to 200m away from gentoo colonies. This will ensure surviving birds do not suffer any undue stress from external pressures. If further research reveals a disease is identified this will also help to minimise the risk of spreading pathogens.



The Death of Betty Biggs (18/09/08)

It is with sadness that we record the death of Betty Biggs in Stanley on the 17th September. Betty was a former resident and Post Mistress of South Georgia, where she brought up her young family. The Government extends its sympathy to Betty's family and friends. We hope to post a full obituary on this site in due course.



Legislative Review (30/01/08)

The Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands is currently undertaking a major legislative review. This will include improved legislation governing tourism and visitor management. In the coming months there will be an opportunity for cruise ship vessel operators to comment on the new South Georgia Policy Document.


However, prior to publication of this document, GSGSSI has a new policy on vessels carrying more than 500 passengers, which will take effect from next season.


At the 18th IAATO AGM South Georgia Government stated that, “GSGSSI is considering an upper limit of 500 pax for any ship, either landing passengers or visiting South Georgia. This includes non-IAATO ships, (which will still be restricted to landing passengers at Grytviken only). South Georgia Government intends to have a cap on passenger numbers in place for the 2008/9 season and we would welcome your views on this subject.


This policy is now in place and with effect from the start of the 2008/9 season permits will not be issued for any vessels carrying more than 500 passengers to visit South Georgia, with the exception of visits that have already been registered with the Government.


Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, 30 January 2008.



South Georgia – Scene of Cruise Ship Disaster Exercise (15/10/07)

King Edward Point, South Georgia, was the setting for a cruise ship disaster exercise involving UK military units operating away from their base in the Falkland Islands, members of the Falkland Islands Defence Force as well as British Antarctic Survey (BAS), PHAROS SG and Government of South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands (GSGSSI) personnel based in South Georgia.


The exercise was based around a typical South Atlantic cruise ship carrying approximately 180 passengers and crew, which had landed a party of mountaineers to cross the Thatcher Peninsular. The vessel had then headed to the vicinity of Grytviken to allow her tourists ashore to see the wildlife and to recover the mountaineering team. Whilst approaching Grytviken in deteriorating weather the cruise ship suffered a total engine failure and was rapidly blown aground opposite King Edward Point. Some passengers abandoned ship, mostly by swimming and wading the short distance onto the rocky shore line and with assistance from GSGSSI and BAS staff, they made their way along the shore line to Grytviken, where a shuttle service was established to take the passengers across to the base at King Edward Point. With local resources and personnel overwhelmed, a call for assistance was put out by GSGSSI.


The call was answered by HMS SOUTHAMPTON, on routine patrol in the area, accompanied by RFA GOLD ROVER. By the time ships arrived, the mountaineering party from the cruise ship was overdue and there was a small amount of fuel spillage around the grounded vessel; most of the passengers and crew were stuck aboard the darkened cruise ship due to bad weather.


The crews of the ships assisted the BAS and GSGSSI personnel to recover the remaining passenger and crew from the cruise ship and established accommodation, catering and medical facilities. Air support included C130 Hercules transport aircraft making the round trip of approximately 1500 miles to air drop additional stores and equipment required to establish these facilities. Meanwhile, members of the Falkland Islands Defence Force, travelling aboard HMS SOUTHAMPTON, in the company of members of the UK Falkland Islands Roulement Infantry Company set off to find the lost mountaineers. At the same time, the crew of HMS SOUTHAMPTON conducted maritime pollution drills to contain the fuel escaping from the stricken vessel.


The exercise, lasting 3 days, allowed all parties involved to practice emergency drills and update plans established for dealing with such disasters. Commander British Forces South Atlantic Islands, Brigadier Nick Davies, who was embarked on HMS SOUTHAMPTON for the exercise said:


“A great deal of cooperation between the military, government and other organisations was critical to ensuring the success of all activities undertaken. We routinely work with government and other agencies operating in the region on Search and Rescue tasks, and this timely exercise in advance of the summer season has allowed us to refresh contingency plans and demonstrate the value of maintaining these close links.”


Throughout the exercise, great care was taken to respect the environmental and ecological integrity of South Georgia in recognition of the fragility of this unique area of natural beauty.



GSGSSI and SAISP Partnership (Aug 2007)

On islands such as South Georgia, invasive species have been identified as the single biggest threat to biodiversity. In response to this, South Georgia Government has a full time employee dealing with the issue of invasive species. Projects include studying the feasibility of eradication of rats and mice, introduced plant species and removal of damaging introduced reindeer. In addition to this, efforts are being made to address the biosecurity of the island, with a raft of new measures being put in place to safeguard the island from additional introductions.


Globally, awareness of the problems posed by invasive species is growing. Within the British Overseas Territories, there are great differences in ability to deal with the problem. In order to build regional capacity to deal with this issue, the European Commission’s DG-Development has funded the South Atlantic Invasive Species Project (SAISP), in which the Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands is a partner. The project has now been running for almost six months, and is being implemented by RSPB.


In collaboration with the Government of South Georgia, work is ongoing to assess the status of invasive species on the island, and to identify where the SAISP can assist. A local project officer, Brian Summers, has been appointed, and is based in Stanley.


For more information on the invasives work being carried out on South Georgia, please contact Darren Christie, Government Officer.


For more information on the South Atlantic Invasive Species Project (SAISP), please contact Clare Miller (South Atlantic Project Manager, RSPB) or Brian Summers (Falklands/South Georgia Project Officer).



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