1. The oceanography of the South Georgia region is principally that of the Southern Ocean rather than the South Atlantic. A combination of factors, including advection, local bathymetry and high local productivity, leads to relatively large concentrations of krill (Euphausia superba) in the region and this is a food source for large populations of penguins and seals that breed at South Georgia. 2. A history of over-exploitation of the marine resources of the region has led to the development of ecosystem approaches to management. The current system for managing krill harvests includes precautionary features that account for interannual variability in krill populations and the food requirements of natural predators. However, in future, it may be possible to use information from the natural krill predators to set reasonable levels of krill exploitation.