The key concerns underpinning the ANTARC-SHIP project are the growth and diversification of Antarctic tourism and the rather minimal extent of intergovernmental regulation of Antarctic tourism by the Antarctic Treaty System. The aim of the ANTARC-SHIP project is to examine to what extent, and how, environmental stewardship can be assessed, enhanced, and facilitated among the different actors and institutions involved in the operation and governance of Antarctic tourism.
The ANTARC-SHIP project consists of the following four work packages:
1. Antarctic tourism and science as interdependent operations: a comparative assessment of environmental impacts and stewardship practices;
2. The durability of self-regulated stewardship in the Antarctic tourism industry: dealing with internal and external challenges;
3. Custodians for the Antarctic: Assessing and managing Antarctic tourism impacts in the gateway cities; and
4. Stewardship through state and intergovernmental regulation of environmental impacts and risks of Antarctic shipborne tourism.
Antarctic tourism has significantly increased – both in visitor numbers and types of activities - and further increases are projected. Many of the 29 countries that jointly manage Antarctica are concerned that the 1991 Environmental Protocol and other regulations provide insufficient protection for nature, safety and science. This research program supports the Netherlands in proactive management of tourism within the Antarctic Treaty System (ATS) on four themes: (1) maximizing visitor numbers by a cap-and-trade system; (2) constraining diversification of activities by pre-assessment procedures; (3) improving domestic implementation of ATS tourism regulations; and (4) enhancing the role of non-use and non-user States.
The deep seabed is the common heritage of humankind, and is at risk by the imminent start of mining. Trans-disciplinary research within environmental science and international law will assess the role of area-based management tools (ABMTs) in protecting hydrothermal vent fields against mining impacts. We investigate ecological connectivity at vent field scale to determine the necessary dimensions of ABMTs, and how these outcomes are best integrated in the regulatory framework of the International Seabed Authority (ISA). The Netherlands government and others may use the research outcomes to ensure ISA regulation meets the highest possible environmental and biodiversity standards.