chapter  15
25 Pages

Tourism, Conservation and Visitor Management in the Sub-Antarctic Islands –


Introduction Consisting of 22 major islands and island groups, the sub-Antarctic islands number some 800 individual islands and have an area double that of the Hawaiian island group (Clark and Dingwall 1985). All are oceanic, far from continental land masses and each other, with climates strongly infl uenced by the Southern Ocean, which surrounds them. Although the sub-Antarctic islands are relatively species poor, they provide breeding and moulting grounds for large numbers of marine mammals and avifauna and have a high degree of endemism because of their geographical and ecological isolation (Chown et al. 1998, 2001). The location of the islands means that they are often romanticised for their isolation and naturalness. For example, Higham (1991: 58) writes of them as being among the last ‘bastions of nature in a world beset by massive and rapid change through human activity’.