7. Conservation & Sustainability

Krill sustainability is a global concern studied by scientists, conservationists, and governmental organizations. The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) is the management organization responsible for monitoring the fisheries working in the oceans around Antarctica.

A primary element of that work is in overseeing the health and size of the krill biomass and managing the fisheries that are harvesting krill. As a keystone species critical to the health of the Antarctic eco-system, it is critical that the krill fishery is conducted with the highest adherence to environmental standards and with absolute observance of catch limits.

"[Krill] remains one of the ocean’s largest known underexploited stocks."
–Dr. SephenNicol

The fishery for Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) is the largest by tonnage in the Southern Ocean. The catch remained relatively stable at around 120,000 ton for 17 years until 2009, but has recently increased to more than 200,000 tons. The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources precautionary catch limits for this species total over 8.6 million tons so it remains one of the ocean’s largest known underexploited stocks. Recent developments in harvesting technology and in products being derived from krill indicate renewed interest in exploiting this resource. At the same time, there are changes in the Southern Ocean environment that are affecting both krill and the fishery. This paper summarizes the current state of this fishery and highlights the changes that are affecting it.

Antarctica experts
A portrait photo of Dr. Steve Nicol, Antarctica expert.
Dr Steve Nicol, scientist

Dr Steve Nicol

A noted krill enthusiast that in more recent years has branched out into more general issues in Southern Ocean ecology. Steve Nicol has published on a wide range of krill-related issues including behaviour, physiology, ecology, biochemistry and fisheries. In recent years he has been most involved in large-scale ecological research that has a direct link to management of the krill fishery.

A portrait photo of Dr. Simeon Hill, marine life expert conducting research in the waters of Antarctic Ocean.
Dr. Simeon Hill, scientist

Dr Simeon Hill

Leads the Modelling & Integration group which is part of BAS's Ecosystems programme. Investigates how different parts of the Southern Ocean marine food web (penguins, other seabirds, seals, whales, fish, benthic invertebrates, zooplankton, phytoplankton) interact with each other and the environment (currents, water masses, ice, climate), and how they respond to external pressures (fishing and global change). read more...

A portrait photo of Nina Jensen, Head of the Conservation Department in WWF-Norway.
Nina Jensen, WWF.

Nina Jensen

Nina Jensen, MSc in marine biology, works as Conservation Director in WWF-Norway (World Wide Fund for Nature) as a Head of the Conservation Department. She has previously worked with communications and marketing for advertising agencies Ogilvy & Mather, Basecamp and Edge Advertising.

Interesting Facts:
  • 98%
    of Antarctica is covered by fresh water ice

  • Antarctica
    is the driest
    continent
    on Earth
    (less than 2 inches of rain per year)

  • 70%
    of world's fresh water
    is
    frozen

  • There
    are no native land
    mammals
    in
    Antarctica

  • 2
    inches
    of precipitation fall in Antarctica
    each year
    on average

  • 10
    number of years krill can
    live

  • 10,000
    number of
    eggs
    a female krill lays at one time

  • 1,000

    Average Antarctic human population

    in

    the winter

  • Summer
    has
    only
    reached
    maximum of 58F

  • Antarctica is
    1.5 times the size
    of the
    United States

  • 0

    Number of

    permanent

    residents

    in Antarctica

  • 47
    number of
    countries
    who have signed the Antarctic Treaty

  • If
    Antarctica
    melted,
    the sea level could rise
    200 feet
    worldwide

  • Krill is more than
    twice
    the total weight of all humans
    on earth

  • 10

    Number of

    human babies

    born in Antarctica


  • the size, in inches, of the
    average
    krill

  • 90%
    the world's
    ice
    is in Antarctica

  • Krill can go for up to

    200

    days

    without eating

  • 4,000

    Average Antarctic human population

    in

    summer

  • 2,000,000
    estimated
    tons of krill
    in a swarm

  • 0
    number of
    govern-
    ments

    that rule Antarctica

  • Winter
    temperature
    can
    drop
    as low as
    -20F

  • 29
    number of
    nations
    that send scientists to conduct experiments in Antarctica