Following an announcement in December 2018, a suite of enhancements to the South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands Marine Protected Area (SGSSI-MPA) have now been signed into legislation by HM Commissioner Nigel Phillips CBE. The enhanced measures are designed to further conserve the rich biodiversity found within the ocean surrounding this sub-Antarctic UK overseas territory. The new measures build on the existing MPA designated in 2012 and are based on scientific evidence considered during the first 5-year review of the MPA.
The enhanced measures include a large increase in the proportion of the 1.24 million km2 MPA within which all commercial fishing activity is prohibited. No-take zones now cover over 23% of the MPA (284,000 km2), an area far exceeding the size of the UK. The no-take zones protect the most bio-diverse habits found within the Southern Ocean and also includes the largely unexplored 8000m deep South Sandwich Islands trench – the deepest part of the South Atlantic.