a1 Antarctic Officer, Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch 7700, South Africa
a2 Scientific Coordinator, Antarctic Programme, Foundation for Research Development, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, P.O. Box 395, Pretoria 0001, South Africa.
With respect to environmental conservation at* the Prince Edward Islands, South Africa has not lagged behind other nations owning sub-Antarctic islands. Indeed, with respect to some aspects, it can claim to be in the forefront. The most serious environmental problems at the Prince Edward Islands have to do with the need for control or eradication of certain established alien species of both plants and animals, the prevention of the introduction of additional aliens, and the carrying out of environmental impact assessments prior to new developments or expansions of existing facilities and programmes. However, where South Africa has lagged behind is in the enunciation of a policy on, and the proclamation of legislation giving, formal status to environmental conservation at, and the implementation of a formal and effective management plan for, the Prince Edward Islands.
It is hoped that these shortcomings will be redressed in the near future. But if, for example, an aircraft landing strip were ever to be built on Marion Island, then the need for the proclamation of legislation and the implementation of a management plan would become even greater than at present. Prince Edward Island is so exceptionally special as an undisturbed sub-Antarctic island that it must never be subjected to any such development.