Invasive Alien Species

Fundamental to the protection of the Antarctic environment are measures to prevent the inadvertent introduction of non-native species.  Introduced species and diseases could significantly damage Antarctic ecosystems.  Transport of non-sterile soil and insects, spores, seeds, eggs and other propagules by visitors can be minimised by careful checking of imported fresh foods and cleaning of clothing, footwear, scientific equipment, cargo and vehicles used in Antarctica.  The Committee for Environmental(details), the Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs (COMNAP) has produced biosecurity guidelines for supply chain managers (details) and the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) has produced guidelines for boat, clothing and equipment decontamination appropriate for small boat landing operations (see:

Rats are one of the most widespread and invasive introduced species worldwide, and are present at all departure points for Antarctica.  Special care must be taken to avoid their introduction to Antarctica and other rat-free areas in the region.  Where applicable, vessels must have valid Ship Sanitation Certificates.  Other recommended measures may include rat guards on mooring lines, deployment of bait stations and regular ship inspections.


No live animals, other than registered assistance dogs, should be intentionally carried on any vessel visiting Antarctica. Dogs are not permitted to land within the Antarctic Treaty area.