Gentoo penguins are benefiting from a newly enlarged no-fishing zone (known as a No-Take Zone NTZ) around the sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia following British Antarctic Survey (BAS) tracking research commissioned by the RSPB.
The remote UK Overseas Territory of South Georgia is home to important colonies of penguins, including the gentoo. Their main diet is krill – a small shrimp-like crustacean – that is abundant in the area.
Recognising the need to balance commercial fishing with habitat and wildlife conservation, in 2012 the Government of South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands (GSGSSI) established a 1.07million km2 Marine Protected Area. This included a 12 nautical mile NTZ around the South Georgia coast, in which no fishing is allowed. Krill fishing is banned from the remainder of the MPA during the summer seabird breeding season, but opens in the winter when most seabirds migrate away from the island. However, gentoo penguins winter on the island which creates potential for them to overlap with krill fisheries. MORE
Header image: British Antarctic Survey.