The Government of South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands has announced that the latest version of the Bio-security Handbook is now available. The Handbook details the procedures which are in place to help reduce the risk of harmful non-native species and disease entering the Territory and steps in place to detect them and limit their spread should they arrive.
According to the SG Newsletter, new for this year is guidance on Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI). A recent outbreak of HPAI has resulted in the death of high numbers of seabirds in the Northern Hemisphere, the south of Africa and around the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. It is expected that this outbreak will spread to Southern Ocean bird populations in the 2022/23 and 2023/24 austral summers.
In readiness for this GSGSSI has provided specific guidance on enhanced bio-security procedures in light of HPAI risk. These include information on:
• Requirements for a 5 minute observation period before entering areas of high wildlife density including what signs to be vigilant for.
• Enhanced bio-security and PPE for those working in close proximity to wildlife.
• Steps for dealing with bird strike on ships or on shore.
• Actions GSGSSI will take on receiving reports of a suspected outbreak.
It is important that all visitors to the Territory familiarize themselves with this guidance and are ready to act should signs of HPAI be detected.