Special areas

Area Protection and Management

Certain areas of Antarctica are set aside under Annex V of the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty as protected areas to preserve their special values. There are two forms of protection:

Antarctic Specially Protected Areas (ASPAs) are designed to protect outstanding environmental, scientific, historic, aesthetic or wilderness values, a combination of these values, or ongoing or planned scientific research. A permit is required to enter an ASPA

Antarctic Specially Managed Areas (ASMAs) are aimed at assisting in the planning and co-ordination of activities, including improving co-operation between Parties and minimising environmental impacts. A permit is not required to enter an ASMA.

The Antarctic Treaty System also provides for the listing of Historic Sites and Monuments, to preserve and protect them from damage and destruction.

Anyone travelling to Antarctica must:

  • be are aware of the location of protected areas in locations they intend to visit;
  • obtain permits for entry to any protected area before leaving for Antarctica and carry them in the field;
  • follow the requirements set out in the management plan for any ASPA or ASMA they enter;
  • report any visits to protected areas to their appropriate national authority.

An accurate record is made of activities in ASPAs and ASMAs. Reports on New Zealand's activities in protected areas are made to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and to the Antarctic Treaty nations.