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Antarctic Krill

FEATURE

Lifeblood of the Southern Ocean

K

rill are small crustaceans, like shrimp. The Antarctic krill, Euphausia superba, live in large schools in the cold, pristine waters of Antarctica. The Southern Ocean is home to thousands of different marine life species, all dependent on each other in a vulnerable ecosystem. The Southern Ocean surrounds Antarctica, which is the coldest, driest and windiest continent on earth. We find the Antarctic krill in the middle of the food chain between the microscopic plants and animals and the larger animals. Krill are food for humpback wales, fish and penguins. Krill are feed for fish. Krill for aquafeed is a growth accelerator and efficiency driver.

"Antarctic krill is a bountiful, but not

Photo courtesy of ©Kjell Rune Venaas

unlimited, resource"

Did you know that? • Antarctica is the highest continent in the world? The average elevation is 2,300 meters because of the thickness of its ice sheet. • Antarctica is one-and-a-half times the size of the United States? • Antarctica has the world’s largest desert? Antarctic krill is a bountiful, but not unlimited, resource. When exploratory krill fishing began in the 1960s, the catch levels were low. In the 1980s commercial fisheries caught more than half a million tons of krill. This raised serious concerns that the fisheries were depleting local krill stock, causing an irreversible damage to the ecosystem and threatening predators such as fish, whales and penguins. "Krill is the lifeblood of the Southern Ocean and supports important Antarctic wildlife such as whales, seals and penguins. It is crucial that krill fishing is done in a responsible and sustainable way,” said Bob Zuur, Manager of WWF’s Antarctic program in a press release.

International Convention regulates and caps the catch

The Convention of the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) protects the ecosystem. This international treaty oversees krill fishing, with 25 members including six countries that fish for krill. In advance of each season, CCAMLR requires vessels to notify their fishing area and potential catch. There are hundreds of million tons of Antarctic krill in the Southern Ocean. The majority of the krill industry operates in Area 48. In Area 48, the industry is allowed to harvest one percent of the estimated 60 million tons of krill. Today, the catch level is about one half of the allowable level.

Responsible business goes beyond sustainable fishing

“Sustainable krill fishing is our licence to operate,” says Sigve Nordrum, Sustainability Director in Aker BioMarine, the biggest krill 24 | INTERNATIONAL AQUAFEED | May-June 2015

May | Jun 2015 International Aquafeed magazine  

The May June edition of Intenrational Aquafeed