Did you know that all expeditions to Antarctica must be approved?

All Norwegian activities in Antarctica must follow the regulations in the protocol on protection of the Antarctic environment, and be carried out in congruence with the Antarctic Treaty.
King penguin and fur seals on South Georgia. King penguin and fur seals on South Georgia. All animal and plant life in Antarctica is protected: it is illegal to collect or otherwise harm plants and animals. Photo: Kit M. Kovacs & Christian Lydersen / Norwegian Polar Institute

Antarctica is the part of our planet that remains least affected by human activities – and a strict set of regulations has been put in place to help keep Antarctica as pristine as possible. The Antarctic Treaty from 1959 establishes the framework for management of the continent.

Norwegian citizens who are planning expeditions (or other activities) in Antarctica must send notification to the Norwegian Polar Institute one year before the activity begins. This notification must include information about who will be going there, the aims and scope of the expedition, plans for cleanup, and an analysis of the expedition’s potential impact on the Antarctic environment. The person in charge of the activity in Antarctica must arrange insurance or guarantees to cover the cost of search and rescue operations and any cleanup that might be required.

Antarctic flora and fauna are protected: it is not permissible to collect or otherwise harm plants and animals. The regulations give some leeway for gathering and capturing of individuals for research purposes – but only with specific permission. All waste produced during an expedition must be carried out of Antarctica when the team returns home. These regulations help to preserve Antarctica as the world’s largest undisturbed wilderness area, and maintain its unique qualities.

Travellers to Antarctica are obliged to make themselves familiar with all specially protected areas, historic sites and monuments, and to follow the rules that apply within each individual area.

Read more about these regulations here.