Monitoring and management in the Antarctic – making the link between science and policy
Management of human impacts in the Antarctic requires an effective system of monitoring to provide information about the process being managed and the effectiveness of management actions. Human impacts arise as a result of processes that originate in the region (endogenous) and those that originate outside the region (exogenous). A number of monitoring programmes have been established in both terrestrial and marine systems to measure impacts that arise as a result of endogenous process such as fishing, tourism and research. However, most of this monitoring is surveillance monitoring, which is not linked to a specific management objective, and does not produce quantitative metrics that can be assessed and compared to agreed targets. However, defining such target levels for the Antarctic, where the aim is to minimise human impacts, is a complex process. Although potential analogues for target setting exist in other parts of the world these are generally insufficiently precautionary to be applied in the Antarctic. The challenge for scientists and policyrnakers working in the Antarctic is to provide quantitative measures, with agreed trigger levels, and to develop appropriate monitoring schemes to manage human impacts in the future.