The work undertaken by MRAG for GSGSSI comprises general and specific advice on the status and management of toothfish, icefish, krill, squid and crab stocks in the Atlantic Sector of the Southern Ocean, and particularly the waters around South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. This work enables GSGSSI to properly manage the fisheries within its jurisdiction. Of particular note was a model developed by MRAG in 2003 to estimate the amount of IUU fishing in the waters of South Georgia. MRAG has also taken the lead in CCAMLR in the estimation of IUU fishing.
The following principal tasks undertaken by MRAG include
- Technical advice on the implementation of SGSSI fishery management regimes, particularly regarding licensing in the SGSSI Maritime Zone, including the integration of the requirements of the GSGSSI with those of regional inter-governmental bodies such as the Commission for Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) and provision of legal advice on the implementation of the fisheries regime;
- Provision of scientific advice to GSGSSI on key exploited species around South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, based on strategic research and participation in the scientific bodies of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources;
- Strategic research on key exploited species around South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, to underpin management advice to GSGSSI which will enable these stocks to be responsibly and sustainably managed by the Director of Fisheries, SGSSI;
- Management of the GSGSSI Scientific Observer Programme, covering the placement of observers on fishing vessels operating in SGSSI waters both under the CCAMLR International Observer Scheme and as UK national observers. This will also cover the placement of scientific research staff on fishing vessels. MRAG have also during the contract trained and deployed the Marine Officer to South Georgia who is responsible for the day-to-day MCS at KingEdwardPoint, conducting boardings and inspections of all visiting vessels.
- Organisation of and logistic support for scientific research surveys aimed at assessing the status of key exploited species around South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands;
- Assessment and provision of advice on management of fisheries interactions with other species, such as sea mammals and birds
- Management of commercial, observer and research survey data derived from operations inside the SGFCZ, including timely submission of data to CCAMLR as required and the maintenance of the GSGSSI commercial database. This database will form an essential resource for other named activities.
- Operation of the GSGSSI Vessel Monitoring System (VMS), covering implementation and monitoring of transmitted reports by vessels fishing in CCAMLR waters.
- MRAG will also undertake such other work and provide such other services in connection with the krill, fish, squid and crab stocks referred to above as may be reasonably requested from time to time by SGSSI.
- Provision of staff and technical advice on monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) activities
- Project management
- Full service fisheries management
- Observer programme management (including training)
- Fisheries information management systems (including database development)
- Advice and management of Vessel Monitoring System (VMS)
- Stock assessment and scientific research surveys
- Provision of legal advice
- Licensing advice
- Advice and representation at Regional Commission Meetings.