The South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands MPA: Protecting A Biodiverse Oceanic Island Chain Situated in the Flow of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current
South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (SGSSI) are surrounded by oceans that are species-rich, have high levels of biodiversity, important endemism and which also support large aggregations of charismatic upper trophic level species. Spatial management around these islands is complex, particularly in the context of commercial fisheries that exploit some of these living resources. Furthermore, management is especially complicated as local productivity relies fundamentally upon biological production transported from outside the area. The MPA uses practical management boundaries, allowing access for the current legal fisheries for Patagonian toothfish, mackerel icefish and Antarctic krill. Management measures developed as part of the planning process designated the whole SGSSI Maritime Zone as an IUCN Category VI reserve, within which a number of IUCN Category I reserves were identified. Multiple-use zones and temporal closures were also designated. A key multiple-use principle was to identify whether the ecological impacts of a particular fishery threatened either the pelagic or benthic domain.