June 19, 2013
South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands marine protected area established, reports say
The Government of South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands (GSGSSI) announced the establishment of a large sustainable use Marine Protected Area (MPA) covering over 1 million km2 of the South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands Maritime Zone, Malvinas based newspaper Penguin News reported today.
Britain's move, which puts severe restrictions on fishing in the area around the islands, could further fuel the controversy since Argentina claims sovereignty over South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands as well as the Malvinas Islands which lie about 1,000 km (620 miles) to the west of them.
The Commissioner for South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands Nigel Haywood defended the initiative saying it is part of a long-term management and conservation strategy for UK´s overseas territory.
"The waters around South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands are among the most productive in the Southern Ocean, with very high biodiversity. We remain committed to the highest standards of environmental management in this unique and globally important UK overseas territory,” he said.
Martin Collins, chief executive of the government of South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands, also supported the creation of the reserve as an environmental protection measure. "South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands are remarkable places, supporting an amazing density of wildlife. Establishing the MPA is a key part of our long-term stewardship of the islands," he highlighted.