Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels

Marine Protected Areas around albatross and petrel islands in the South Atlantic to expand

The current 1.24-million-km2 Marine Protected Area (MPA) around South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (Islas Georgias del Sur y Islas Sandwich del Sur)* in the South Atlantic is to be expanded in area and also in the levels of protection it offers.  These islands support globally important populations of procellariiform and other seabirds, including seven species of ACAP-listed albatrosses and petrels.

A 54-year old globally Endangered Grey-headed Albatross Thalassarche chrysostoma and its chick on Bird Island, photograph by Stephanie Winnard

The changes include:

  • Extension of the No-Take Zone (NTZ) around South Georgia (Islas Georgias del Sur)* from 12 nautical miles (22.2 km) to 30 km, increasing its area from 13 899 km2 to 18 520 km2 to protect the spawning aggregations of many fish species and the foraging areas of inshore marine predators
  • Establishment of a NTZ and a pelagic closed area in zones extending 50 km from the South Sandwich Islands (Islas Sandwich del Sur)*, resulting in areas of 28 054 km2 and 23 755 km2, respectively, increasing both the size of the total NTZ and the area closed to pelagic commercial fishing activity.

Overall, the NTZs closed to all commercial fishing activity will expand to cover 23% (284 000 km2) of the MPA.  More details of the above and other changes may be found here.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 05 March 2019

*A dispute exists between the Governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland concerning sovereignty over the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas), South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (Islas Georgias del Sur y Islas Sandwich del Sur) and the surrounding maritime areas.

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