The International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) is banning the recreational use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in Antarctica's coastal areas.
The ban, which is for the 2015-16 season, will be reviewed next year to allow for potential technological advances and further developments within the regulatory community, says IAATO.
The association says it recognizes the value of UAVs for research and certain commercial uses, such as documentary filmmaking, but wants to ensure that the technology’s use is contained and carefully controlled in the unique – and often wildlife-rich – coastal areas of Antarctica.
The agreement was made at IAATO’s 26th annual meeting in Rottterdam, the Netherlands, in late April. IAATO, which currently has 126 members, was founded in 1991 to advocate, promote and practice safe and environmentally responsible private-sector travel to the Antarctic.