Greed threatens Antarctic wildlife

From Nature:

Ecologists fear Antarctic krill crisis

Fishing industry threatens to destabilize stocks.

Quirin Schiermeier

The humble Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) bears a heavy burden. It may be just a small, shrimp-like crustacean, but its sheer abundance makes it one of the largest protein sources on Earth, eagerly sought by fish, penguins, whales — and man.

Ecologists are now warning that the rapid growth in krill fishing is adding to the pressure of environmental changes threatening the creatures, and are calling for better monitoring and precautionary management of krill fisheries.

The global fish-farming industry is increasingly relying on krill-based fish feed, and enzymes and chemicals derived from krill are included in a number of dietary and medical products. Last year, for example, Aker Biomarine, an Oslo-based company specializing in harvesting and processing Antarctic krill in the Southern Ocean, upgraded its krill harvesting vessel, the Saga Sea, to boost its catch. In the first half of 2010 it produced 8,600 tonnes of krill meal for the aquaculture market, up from 6,200 tonnes during the whole 2009 catch season. The total krill catch this season is expected to be 150,000–180,000 tonnes, exceeding last year’s total by about 40%.

In May, Aker Biomarine’s krill fishing was certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), a London-based organization that aims to promote sustainable fishing practices by allowing catch from MSC-certified fisheries to be labelled as such … . The Pew Environment Group, an environmental advocacy group based in Washington DC, has objected to this, arguing that fishing for fishmeal should not be eligible for MSC certification. The row will come to a head at the October meeting of the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), an international body responsible for managing the fisheries in the Southern Ocean.

See also here.

Tracking Antarctic Krill as More Is Harvested for Omega-3 Pills: here.

UBC deploys underwater robot to explore Antarctic ice: here.

King Crab Invasion Likely If Antarctic Waters Get Warmer: here.

Potential ammonia emissions from penguin guano, ornithogenic soils and seal colony soils in coastal Antarctica: effects of freezing-thawing cycles and selected environmental variables: here.

6 thoughts on “Greed threatens Antarctic wildlife

  1. Pew Environment Group to Host Press Call on Efforts to Protect Whales, Penguins, Seals and Krill

    PR Newswire

    HOBART, Tasmania, Oct. 19

    HOBART, Tasmania, Oct. 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — On Wednesday, October 20 at 11 a.m. EDT, Pew’s Antarctic Krill Conservation Project will host a tele-press briefing to discuss the importance and urgency of protecting Antarctica’s iconic predators including whales, penguins and seals.

    From October 25 – November 5, the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) will meet in Hobart, Tasmania to consider various measures that would protect krill, a small, shrimp-like crustacean that serves as the foundation of the Southern Ocean ecosystem. Increasing demand for krill puts the entire Antarctic food chain at risk. By adopting precautionary measures to spread out krill fishing over space and time, conducting a new krill stock assessment and requiring official observers on all krill fishing vessels in the Southern Ocean, CCAMLR can ensure the survival of this linchpin crustacean and the ocean wildlife that depend upon it for their survival.


    Press conference call to discuss Pew’s priorities for this year’s CCAMLR meeting and emphasize the need for an effective management system of the Southern Ocean krill fishery


    Wednesday, October 20, 2010 at 11 a.m. EDT


    * Gerald Leape – Senior Officer, Pew Environment Group; Director, Antarctic Krill Conservation Project (moderator)
    * Evan Bloom – Deputy Director for Polar and Scientific Affairs, U.S. Department of State; Head of the U.S. delegation to CCAMLR
    * Heather Urquhart – Penguin Exhibit and Collection Manager, New England Aquarium (INVITED)


    * NUMBERS: 800.311.9405 (U.S.); 334.323.7224 (INTERNATIONAL)
    * PASSWORD: Penguins

    This call will be recorded as an mp3 and will be posted to approximately three hours after the briefing ends.

    SOURCE Pew Environment Group


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