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Management plans for Deception Island

In February 2002 IPHC President Susan Barr, along with a group of other international specialists, visited Deception Island in South Shetlands group to undertake research as one of the preliminary steps in preparing a management plan for Deception. Here is a summary of her report.

The sustainable management of Deception Island, South Shetland Islands, Antarctica.

Deception Island, Antarctica, with its special volcanic origin and current activity, unique geology and vegetation, and cultural monuments and sites, is one of the most visited tourist sites in Antarctica. Particularly the remains of whaling activity from 1906-31 attract visitors, demonstrating as they do both the ability of man to establish himself for industrial purposes in the most hostile environments, as well as the powers of nature that gradually take back the sites once occupied by man.

In order to maintain the authenticity of Deception Island’s cultural and natural assets, a Management Group has been appointed to produce a strategy for nominating the whole island as an Antarctic Specially Managed Area (ASMA). The Group consists of members from all the countries currently involved in the island: Argentina, Chile, Spain, UK, USA, as well as the tourist organisation IAATO and the Antarctic nature conservation organisation ASOC. The individual members of the Group have their speciality areas to assess (tourism, geology, vegetation, pollution, crisis management in the event of extreme volcanic activity, cultural monuments and sites, special scientific areas), and their separate management suggestions will be compiled into one management plan which will be presented to the Antarctic Treaty System.

A management strategy plan for the whaling remains is the responsibility of the Norwegian Polar Institute, with professional advice from the Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage. Representing the latter, the president of the IPHC, Susan Barr, carried out field work on the island in February 2002. During this work the whaling site was thoroughly assessed with regard to its historical values and the need for any particular actions to protect or preserve the site and its various elements. The results of this work are currently being processed by the two Norwegian agencies. Their proposal for a management plan for the site will then be circulated within the Group for comment. The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) is coordinating the compilation of the management strategy plan for the whole of Deception Island.
(Susan Barr - April 2002)

For more information on Deception Island see :

ICOMOS International Polar Heritage Committee
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