Fishing for krill in the Antarctic has been determined not to pose harm to land-based predators like penguins. (Photo: Aker BioMarine/FIS)
Krill fishing in Antarctic does not harm land-based predators: report
Monday, July 02, 2012, 00:40 (GMT + 9)
Australian researchers have determined that fishing for krill in the Antarctic does not pose harm to land-based predators like seals and penguins when it occurs during non-breeding periods. The study used four years’ worth of assessments of krill fishing methods from an Aker Biomarine vessel.
“There is insufficient evidence to indicate that fishing activity occurring during non-breeding times of the year is having any effect on prey availability to krill predators,” wrote Rob Nicoll and Luncinda Douglass of the Centre for Conservation Geography in Sydney in their paper, “Mapping Krill Trawling and Predator Distribution; Mapping Selected Krill Predator Summer Foraging Ranges with Fishing Activity of Aker Biomarine's Saga Sea 2007-2011."
Aker, the Norwegian fishing firm that owns the company used in the study, welcomed the researchers’ assertion that there is no link between the fishery and the eating habits of land-based predators, Nutra Ingredients reports.
“When Aker earned Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Norway required that Aker develop a comprehensive research programme to map our fishing operation in relation to predator species in order to address some lingering uncertainties about the relationship of the krill fishery on the total krill biomass and predator populations,” Aker Conservation Director Sigve Nordrum stated.
He said the report’s findings reinforce the company’s effort to sustainably manage the fishery.
Following the MSC’s second audit of Aker’s Antarctic krill fishery conducted by Intertek Moody Marine, the overall score for principle 2 Maintenance of Ecosystem was increased from 91 to 94.3. The audit found no change in the understanding of the stock status since 2011 and last year's increase of the estimated krill biomass from 37.3 million tonnes to 60.3 million tonnes remains in effect.
"The catch trigger level appears more precautionary than when the original assessment was carried out," according to the MSC report.
The report’s findings were reviewed by krill and sustainability experts Stephen Nicol of the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Co-Operative Research Centre and Nina Jensen and Fredrik Myhre of WWF-Norway.
The effect on animals including whales was not considered.
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