A fundamental criteria for requiring an area to have additional protection is that it be at risk of human interference. Therefore, most of the ZAEPs are located on the coasts of the continent and its insular sectors, and are concentrated in two large areas: the Antarctic Peninsula and the coasts of the Ross Sea, places where human activity is notoriously greater.
In order to make the protection of ZAEPs effective, Annex V to the Madrid Protocol states that:
- Each ZAEP has a Management Plan, a document that identifies the values to be protected and specifies the necessary measures to guarantee their proper management.
- It is prohibited to enter a ZAEP, except in accordance with a permit issued by one of the States party to the Antarctic Treaty. It will be extended if the activity conforms to the conditions contained in the corresponding ZAEP Management Plan.
- Whoever enters a ZAEP must carry a copy of the permit, and must keep it for as long as it remains there.
There are currently a total of 73 ZAEPs in the Antarctic Treaty Area. On King George Island, where the Artigas Antarctic Science Base (BCAA) is located, there are 6 of them:
- ZAEP-125 : Península Fildes
- ZAEP-128 : Costa occidental de la bahía Almirantazgo
- ZAEP-132 : Península Potter
- ZAEP-150 : Isla Ardley, Bahía Maxwell
- ZAEP-151 : Lions Rump
- ZAEP-171 : Punta Narebski, Península Barton