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Maintaining marine life in the Antarctic region

MSC Fisheries Manager, Bill Holden talks about the collaborative stewardship of krill fisheries.
Krill fishing vessel on sea in front of icey mountains, Antarctica

MSC Senior Fisheries Manager, Bill Holden, recently spoke during the 34th Meeting of the commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR). Here, he shares his thoughts from the talk, which focussed on the importance of good stewardship and the roles that fisheries, governments and CCAMLR all play in maintaining marine life in the Antarctic region.

The pristine areas of the Southern Ocean and Antarctic region are teeming with life yet vulnerable to the effects of climate change and overfishing. In the face of these competing commercial and environmental interests, effective stewardship is essential to maintaining the region’s rich biodiversity.

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Krill, fishing and penguins

Dr David Agnew of the Marine Stewardship Council asks is krill fishing in the Antarctic damaging penguin populations?
gentoo-penguins

Krill, a tiny shrimp-like creature commonly used in fish oil supplements due to its high ‘Omega 3’ oil content, has been the subject of considerable discussion in environmental circles. I’ve talked before about why there won’t be a sudden expansion of the krill fishery and today I’d like to address a different issue: is krill fishing harming penguin populations? The suggestion that krill fishing is damaging krill and penguin populations in the Antarctic should be taken very seriously and is a topic I feel it is important to address.

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Will there be a new ‘Gold rush’ on krill?

There have been warnings of overfishing of krill since the 1990s. This blog explains the legal, scientific and economic reasons why it won’t happen.
Close up of krill

Updated 7 January 2015.

There’s been a lot of talk lately about ‘What happens if the krill fishery suddenly grows out of control?’ What’s to stop a bunch of boats tooling up and charging down to the Antarctic and catching all of the krill?

People have been warning of a massive increase in the krill fishery since the 1990s and it still hasn’t happened for two very good reasons. Over the course of this blog, I want to explain the legal and scientific reasons why it won’t happen and also the economic reasons why this idea of krill suddenly getting huge fishing pressure is simply not plausible.

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