The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) operates two year-round research stations at South Georgia. The station at King Edward Point is operated on behalf of the FCO and the Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands and the station at Bird Island is operated to carry out core science for BAS.
Fishery protection and management are the responsibility of the government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands which uses a range of measures including a strict licensing regime, fisheries protection vessels, at sea inspections, satellite-based vessel monitoring systems and the deployment of observers.
The Foreign Commonwealth Office represents UK interests at the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR). A key UK objective at CCAMLR is to defend the integrity and economic viability of the South Georgia fishery. This is achieved by obtaining consensus on total allowable catch (TAC) limits which are agreed on the basis of robust scientific evidence. The UK strives to ensure that CCAMLR adopts effective conservation measures to curb illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing across the Southern Ocean as a whole.
The government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (GSGSSI), the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the British Antarctic Survey work collaboratively to protect wildlife on South Georgia. The Government works closely with the Commission of the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) and the international Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels to conserve most of South Georgia's breeding populations. In addition the GSGSSI has a number of polices in place to protect life in both the marine and terrestrial environment, these include the designation of specially protected areas, specially protected species as well as prohibitions on disturbing, killing, capturing or exporting native fauna. These are set out in South Georgia's Plan for Progress—Managing the Environment 2006-2010.
The FCO has no plans to provide funding to South Georgia and the Sandwich Islands to dismantle the former whaling stations. In 1991 the leases of the former whaling stations reverted to the Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (GSGSSI), therefore the responsibility to fund the dismantlement of the former whaling stations rests with the GSGSSI. The GSGSSI spent approximately £5 million to make the Grytviken whaling station safe for visitors. It is beyond the means of the GSGSSI to fund any further projects of this nature in the remaining stations. Visitors are prohibited from entering within 200 m of these stations for safety reasons.
The Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (GSGSSI) funds the provision of a doctor at King Edward Point to support the local community and fishing industry. There are no search and rescue facilities or other emergency services on the Islands, nor are there any plans to develop such facilities.
In the event of a Search and Rescue incident the Commander of the British Forces in the South Atlantic Islands (CBFSAI) will coordinate any response using any appropriate assets that are available in the area at the time.
The GSGSSI has introduced measures to reduce the risk of major incidents by insisting visitors are supported by a dedicated vessel and by introducing restrictions on the passenger capacity of visiting vessels.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, (FCO) the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and the government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (GSGSSI) work collaboratively to investigate and protect biodiversity and ensure the conservation of endangered species at South Georgia. The BAS have a long-term monitoring and survey programme which monitors seabird and seal population dynamics, feeding ecology and reproductive performance. The GSGSSI has strict procedures in place to prevent the introduction or transfer of alien species and in support of this the FCO is part-funding the development of a biosecurity store to be built at South Georgia to safeguard native species and control invasive species.
The audited accounts for 2008 are not yet available. The provisional figure for revenue generated by the Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands in 2008 from the sale of fishing licences was £4,410,384 (over 80 per cent. of which is spent on managing the fishery). The provisional figure for revenue generated by harbour administration charges and stamp sales was £153,159 and £108,019 respectively.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has no plans to improve transport facilities in South Georgia. The principle objective of tourism management for South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands is to ensure the continued protection of the island's unique environment, including its flora, fauna and cultural heritage. While the numbers of tourists visiting South Georgia has increased in recent years, visitor landings are managed by the government of South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands so that authorised visitors may continue to have access to approved landing sites in a safe and regulated manner, whilst minimising any potential impacts on the island's unique heritage.
British Antarctic Survey (B AS) scientists are funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands to carry out a programme of applied fisheries research at the facility at King Edward Point in support of the sustainable management of fisheries around the island. The BAS scientific research at Bird Island is funded by the Natural Environment Research Council and focuses on seabird and seal population dynamics, feeding ecology and reproductive performance. This programme is aimed at providing robust scientific advice to the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources for the management of Southern Ocean fisheries.