Launch of the South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands Marine Invasive Non-Native Species project

Dr Siobhan Vye

Project Manager Siobhan Vye

In October, the South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands Marine Invasive Non-Native Species project kicked off in earnest, with the arrival of Siobhan Vye , Project Manager in Stanley. The project will improve understanding of the risk of introduction of marine non-native species from vessels visiting South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands and develop risk management options to prevent the arrival of marine non-native species into the territory. Siobhan and colleagues will be completing surveys of vessel hulls in Stanley, collecting information from vessel operators about their maintenance and voyage histories, and conducting experiments to understand which species can survive in South Georgia waters.

Previous work by SAERI identified the types of vessel that travel to South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (SGSSI) that pose the greatest risk of introducing marine non-native species based on vessel characteristics. This project will build on this understanding by monitoring vessels at the port in Stanley (Falkland Islands), where most vessels bound for SGSSI depart from. The monitoring will focus on biofouling (growth of marine life on areas of the vessel) and vessel biosecurity protocols (how growth and transport of marine life is managed). This information, combined with a review of biofouling risk management worldwide, will generate recommendations for future marine biosecurity for the territory. In collaboration with the British Antarctic Survey, the project will also investigate the tolerance of marine species native to the Falkland Islands to the environmental conditions of SGSSI to identify if they could successfully establish in the territory now or in the future. The project will also look to raise awareness with key stakeholders about the risk posed by marine invasive non-native species and the steps they can take to minimise the chance of any future introductions.

Since starting, the project has focused on planning for surveys and experiments, reviewing biofouling management regimes around the globe and meeting with key stakeholders. Siobhan was also joined by SAERI’s work experience students who helped generate ideas for outreach materials.
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Ross Road, Falkland Islands
Stanley, FIQQ 1ZZ
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