The work undertaken by MRAG for Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (GSGSSI) comprised of 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 (SGSSI). This work enabled 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 also took the lead in CCAMLR in the estimation of IUU fishing.
The following principal tasks undertaken by MRAG included:
- 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;
- The 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 CCAMLR;
- Strategic research on key exploited species around South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, to underpin management advice to GSGSSI which enabled 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 Scheme of International Observation (SISO) and as UK national observers. This also covered the placement of scientific research staff on fishing vessels. MRAG also trained and deployed the Marine Officer to South Georgia who was responsible for the day-to-day MCS at King Edward Point, conducting boardings and inspections of all visiting vessels;
- The organisation of and logistic support for scientific research surveys aimed at assessing the status of key exploited species around SGSSI;
- 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 around SGSSI, including timely submission of data to CCAMLR as required and the maintenance of the GSGSSI commercial database;
- Operation of the GSGSSI Vessel Monitoring System (VMS), covering implementation and monitoring of transmitted reports by vessels fishing in CCAMLR waters.