Monday, November 3, 2008

The Krill Industry

Periodically, ASOC reports on developments in the Antarctic krill fishing industry. Because of the remoteness of Antarctica and the difficulty of processing krill, the industry has not grown as rapidly as others, but has been growing in recent years. Therefore, unlike species such as bluefin tuna or Atlantic cod, krill populations have not reached crisis levels and receive less media attention. Yet krill is so important to the Antarctic ecosystem that it is vital for those concerned with the Antarctic environment to keep an eye on the industry.

Krill are increasingly popular as components of fish meal for farmed fish or fish oil supplements. Compounding the problem are declines in krill populations due to climate-change induced changes in the amount of sea ice, around which krill swarms often congregate. The Antarctic ecosystem depends on krill, and numerous studies show that penguin and seal populations drop when krill populations decline.

Thus, as the market for fish oil and for farmed fish, continues to expand, it's critical to keep an eye on increased applications to fish for krill in Antarctica to ensure that catches leave enough krill to support Antarctic wildlife. Read more about what's going on in the krill fishing industry in our October Krill Industry Newsletter.


ProKrill said...

An Antarctic Krill fishery is sustainable because:
It is regulated and protected through the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), which is part of the Antarctic Treaty System.
It is the world’s largest known single specie biomass, estimated to several hundred million tons.
The reproductive rate is very high.
The actual harvest is less than 0,1% of the estimated total biomass per year. For comparison other known sustainable fisheries have a 10-15% harvest rate.
The by-catch is known to be low and is eliminated through specialized fishing methods.
Over the past 20 years there has been no observed adverse effect on the Antarctic food web.
Old methods for estimating of krill population biomass have been replaced with more sophisticated methods.
Independent observers collect a variety of data including tonnages of krill harvested, as well as any by-catch, to assist with scientific management.
On-board satellite monitoring equipment records the position and duration of the vessel in the fishery at any times.

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