FCO: Draft Antarctic Bill
JNCC Consultation 1012
Submission by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee
Enclosed is JNCC's response to a consultation from FCO on a Draft Antarctic Bill. Submitted on 11th February 2010.

Summary of key points

We agree that marine plants and invertebrates should be afforded the same protection as their terrestrial counterparts, and support the more stringent measures proposed in relation to biosecurity (prohibiting the carrying of animals on board vessels, and the introduction of non-native microorganisms and non-sterile soil). It should be noted that most introductions are likely to be accidental rather than deliberate, and so legislation which prohibits the introduction of alien species, including microorganisms, will only go so far. While it is necessary to require that visitors take the necessary precautions to reduce the risk of accidental introductions, it is as, if not more, important to provide practical details and guidelines on exactly how this should be achieved. The Bill may not be the place to do this, but we would like to take this opportunity to highlight the importance of such guidelines to direct the application of the prescriptions of the Bill in practice. Although Antarctic biodiversity has been less affected by invasive alien species, and other human impacts, than most other environments, it is clear that with increasing human activities in the region and the predicted ameliorating environmental conditions associated with climate change, the area will become increasingly susceptible to the introduction and establishment of invasive alien species. Consequently, the implementation of a rigorous biosecurity system is critical.
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Please cite as: JNCC Consultation 1012, (2010), FCO: Draft Antarctic Bill, Submission by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee