Formidable legal and administrative complexities arise from conflicting claims to jurisdiction and the continued absence of generally recognized sovereignty over much of the region. Existing conservation measures fall into three groups: elaborate laws made by governments claiming Antarctic territories, more restricted laws, and simple instructions for particular expeditions. The Antarctic Treaty, 1959, made it possible to begin coordinating all these separate instruments. No claimed jurisdiction has been surrendered or recognized: each government has started to harmonize its own control measures with the 'Agreed Measures for the Conservation of Antarctic Fauna and Flora', 1964. This scheme applied only to land areas and has since been evolving in the light of experience. Although not yet formally approved by all the governments concerned, it is working effectively by voluntary agreement. Different approaches are necessary for conservation of Southern Ocean resources, especially krill. A start has been made with the 'Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Seals', 1972. There are many outstanding problems: all require effective cooperation between scientific and legal advisers, diplomats and politicians. Mention is made of recent British conservation legislation for South Georgia, the Falkland Islands and the Tristan da Cunha group. Some of the next steps are outlined.