South Georgia

Environment:

South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (SGSSI) is a remote and inhospitable collection of islands, consisting of South Georgia and a chain of smaller islands, known as the South Sandwich Islands, and lie approximately 1,000 km east of the Falkland Islands. Most of the islands, rising steeply from the sea, are rugged and mountainous. South Georgia is largely barren and has steep, glacier-covered mountains. The South Sandwich Islands are of volcanic origin with some active volcanoes. The islands have large bird and seal populations. Reindeer, introduced early in the 20th century, live on South Georgia.

Culture:

Grytviken, on South Georgia, was a 19th and early 20th century whaling station. Famed explorer Ernest SHACKLETON stopped there in 1914 en route to his ill-fated attempt to cross Antarctica on foot. He returned some 20 months later with a few companions in a small boat and arranged a successful rescue for the rest of his crew, stranded off the Antarctic Peninsula. He died in 1922 on a subsequent expedition and is buried in Grytviken. Today, the station houses scientists from the British Antarctic Survey. Recognizing the importance of preserving the marine stocks in adjacent waters, the UK, in 1993, extended the exclusive fishing zone from 12 nm to 200 nm around each island. Argentina, which claims the islands in its constitution and briefly occupied them by force in 1982, agreed in 1995 to no longer seek settlement by force.

References:

  • Tourism on South Georgia: a case for multiple resource management by JM Snyder & B Stonehouse, 2007