British Antarctic Territory

About

The British Antarctic Territory consists of all the land, including the Antarctic Peninsula, south of 60°S, between 20° and 80° W, an area of 1,709,400 km2. Although the UK claim overlaps with those of Argentina and Chile, the Antarctic Treaty effectively suspends claims and provides an internationally agreed regime for the area, recognising its importance as an area for peace and scientific research.

There is no permanent population but the two year-round and one summer-only UK research stations are found here. Many other countries also have research stations in this region, as the Southern Ocean offers unique opportunities for understanding evolution in marine systems.

The Protocol for the Protection of the Antarctic Environment, enacted as the Antarctic Act 1994, provides a licensing regime for all activities in the Territory by British nationals. This legislation also covers environmental monitoring and impact assessment, waste management, oil spills and protected areas and species. Management of commercial fishing is by international agreement through the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR). Annual meetings of the Treaty and CCAMLR provide a forum for monitoring environmental activities and fishing.

On land, although vegetation is sparse, there are many types of lichen, moss and algae. In the surrounding seas, vast quantities of krill Euphausia superba provide the basis for rich marine life. This includes whales, seals and very large numbers of birds, especially petrels and penguins, inhabiting the islands and coastal areas of the Peninsula. Adélie Pygoscelis adeliae and emperor penguins Aptenodytes forsteri both breed on the continent itself.

Read more about the wildlife, history and cultural heritage of all of the UK Overseas Territories in the 704 page Britain’s Treasure Islands book (CLICK HERE).

Watch 42 ‘mini-documentaries’ that explore the wildlife, cultures and history of all of the UK Overseas Territories (CLICK HERE). 

Map

Video

British Antarctic Territory – wildlife and heritage

 

Read more about the wildlife, history and cultural heritage of all of the UK Overseas Territories in the 704 page Britain’s Treasure Islands book (CLICK HERE).

Watch 42 ‘mini-documentaries’ that explore the wildlife, cultures and history of all of the UK Overseas Territories (CLICK HERE).