Improving risk understanding and protocols for inspection of vessels to mitigate the spread of marine invasive non-native species to South Georgia & South Sandwich Islands

Project Overview

Through monitoring vessels, experiments, and stakeholder workshops, 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.
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. 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.

Project Objectives

To improve understanding of how the risk of introducing marine non-native species to South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands is influenced by vessels’ biofouling and ballast water management regimes
To work with stakeholders to raise awareness of the importance of marine biosecurity and develop recommendations for improving marine biosecurity for South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands
To identify whether marine species native to the Falkland Islands can tolerate the environment conditions at South Georgia and could pose a risk to the territory’s marine ecosystems if introduced

Project Manager

DR SIOBHAN VYE

Siobhan is a marine conservationist who has worked across research, policy and ocean stewardship throughout her career. After a BSc at Bangor University’s School of Ocean Sciences, she spent three years roaming the rocky shores of Ireland for her PhD at Queen’s University Belfast, investigating human impacts on marine biodiversity.
Early on in her career, she developed an interest in marine management, which has taken her from research roles in marine biosecurity to policy roles in marine protected area management and blue carbon. Most recently, she worked closely with the government and community of the UK Overseas Territory of Tristan da Cunha, supporting them with their new Marine Protection Zone.
Siobhan is an advocate for environmental stewardship, spending 3 years sharing her knowledge of UK shores with citizen scientists through the Capturing our Coast project, and more recently, working with organisations including the BBC to increase the impact of the David Attenborough series ‘Wild Isles’.
Siobhan moved to Stanley in 2023 to lead the marine invasive non-native species project for South Georgian and South Sandwich Islands. In her spare time, you are most likely to find her seeking out wild places on her trusty blue bicycle or lost in a good book.

PROJECT FUNDING AND PARTNERS

FALKLAND ISLANDS OFFICE:
PO Box 609, Stanley Cottage North
Ross Road, Falkland Islands
Stanley, FIQQ 1ZZ
Falkland Islands: +500 27374
UK Office: +44 (0)20 3745 1731
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