Department of Environment Forestry and Fisheries Media Release: International wildlife documentary series to be filmed on Marion Island16 September 2020


Following a rigorous approval process that involved key stakeholders, the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF) has approved a proposal by the United Kingdom (UK) based film and production company, Plimsoll Productions, to film a wildlife documentary series on Marion Island.

The approval will see film makers and scientists collaborate to ensure the continuation of important research projects on Marion Island. There are significant, globally valued long-term science and conservation projects on Marion Island that were interrupted by the COVID19 pandemic and both parties viewed this as an opportunity for collaboration.

The agreement with Plimsoll Production includes the charter of a private vessel at their own cost, with an offer to transport 7 members of the M77 over-wintering team to the island, in September 2020. This would allow for the mitigation of the impact of Covid-19 on science activities by enabling filmmakers and scientists to combine efforts to enable the continuation of field science programmes on Marion Island, as well as filming incredible natural behaviour. Some of these scientific datasets on Marion Island are nearing 40 years of uninterrupted observations.

In consultation with the Department of Science and Innovation, there was a thorough analysis of the proposed activities and a permit with very strict conditions has been issued. To monitor compliance with the permit conditions, a departmental official will accompany the film crew to ensure that they observe the necessary regulations and protocols. The proposal also went through an extremely rigorous interrogation by the Prince Edward Island Advisory Committee (PEIAC). The PEIAC was established in compliance with the Prince Edward Island Management Plan to ensure that the pristine nature of the Prince Edward Island is maintained and all activities are controlled and in compliance with the Management Plan.

In keeping with the COVID-19 prescripts and regulations, the entire team will adhere to a strict working COVID protocol. For the trip to Marion Island, the charter vessel will be de-contaminated prior to departure. A full inspection will be conducted on the vessel by DEFF to ensure compliance with environmental regulations. The entire filming team, scientists and vessel crew will all be quarantined and COVID-19 tested in the lead up to departure. All participants on the expedition will undergo full medical examinations prescribed for visitors to the Antarctic or Sub-Antarctic.

The expedition will depart from Cape Town to Marion Island in mid-September. 


For media enquiries contact:
Zolile Nqayi
Cell: 082 898 6483 

© South African National Antarctic Programme • Managed and administered by Antarctic Legacy of South Africa • Photo Credits
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