WWF welcomed on Monday July 9, 2018, the announcement of a voluntary krill fishery closure along the Antarctic Peninsula by five fishing companies who make up the Association of Responsible Krill Harvesting companies (ARK), and which represent 85% of the krill fishing industry in the Antarctic: the world’s largest krill fishing company, Aker BioMarine (Norway), Pesca Chile (Chile), Insung (South Korea), Rimfrost (Norway) and China National Fisheries Corporation (China). The companies have also pledged to support the scientific and political process for the creation of a network of large-scale marine protected areas in the Antarctic, including areas in which they currently operate.
Aker BioMarine also says it will support the creation of marine sanctuaries in Antarctica through the establishment of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in coming years. “WWF welcomes the initiative by Aker BioMarine and other ARK members to voluntarily commit to protecting Antarctica and its extraordinary wildlife,” said Chris Johnson, Senior Manager of WWF’s Antarctic Programme.
The voluntary krill fishery closure comes as a direct result of a Greenpeace campaign to protect the Antarctic Ocean, backed by 1.7 million people globally; it was announced at the ‘Antarctic 360°’ Greenpeace event in Cambridge (UK). “The momentum for protection of the Antarctic’s waters and wildlife is snowballing. A huge movement of people globally has been joined by scientists, governments, celebrities and now even the companies fishing in the Antarctic. This is a bold and progressive move from these krill fishing companies, and we hope to see the remainder of the krill industry follow suit,” said Frida Bengtsson, Greenpeace Nordic Protect the Antarctic campaign.
Andrea Kavanagh, Director of Antarctic and Southern Ocean conservation, Pew Charitable Trusts, commented: “The Association of Responsible Krill harvesting companies’ support for the creation of a network of marine protected areas (MPAs), including large no-fishing zones, is a truly visionary step that more commercial fishing interests in Antarctica and around the world should follow. Cooperation among scientists, governments, industry, and conservation groups is the surest bet to protecting the 30 percent of the ocean that scientists tell us is needed to maintain global ocean health. We expect to see the Weddell Sea and waters off East Antarctica declared marine parks in October. Governments should follow industry’s lead and support MPAs.”
- Greenpeace press release (09.07.2018): Vast majority of krill fishing companies back call to protect Antarctic Ocean: https://www.greenpeace.org/usa/news/vast-majority-of-krill-fishing-companies-back-call-to-protect-antarctic-ocean
- Aker BioMarine (“the world’s leading supplier of krill”) press release (10.07.2018): ‘Krill fishing companies back call to protect Antarctic Ocean https://www.akerbiomarine.com/news/krill-fishing-companies-back-call-to-protect-antarctic-ocean
- Pew Environment article (09.07.2018) ‘Krill Fishing Companies Ager to No-Take Zone in the Antarctic’: http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/articles/2018/07/09/krill-fishing-companies-agree-to-notake-zones-in-the-antarctic
- The Guardian: Krill fishing firms back Antarctic ocean sanctuary (09.07.2018): https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jul/09/krill-fishing-firms-back-antarctic-ocean-sanctuary
On March 8, 2018, at the World Ocean Summit taking place in Mexico, the European Commission launched in partnership with the European Investment Bank, the Prince of Wales’s International Sustainability Unit (ISU) and WWF, the Sustainable Blue Economy Finance Principles.
“These are voluntary principles that will guide responsible investments to counter the many stresses that oceans are subject to, from overfishing and rising sea levels to plastic pollution. Earlier this year, the EU High-Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance had recommended in its final report that the Sustainable Blue Economy Finance Principles be adopted and implemented by the finance community. As a result, initial commitments have already been made by Althelia Ecosphere, Aviva Investors, the BPCE Group, Seventure Partners, Willis Towers Watson and the World Bank. In signing up, investors and organisations commit to mainstream these principles in all new investment decisions.”
The launch is in line with the EU Commission’s Sustainable Finance Action Plan announced the previous day on March 8. The latter – among others – includes actions such as Incorporating sustainability in prudential requirements (the EC “will explore the feasibility of recalibrating capital requirements for banks (the so-called green supporting factor) for sustainable investments, when it is justified from a risk perspective, while ensuring that financial stability is safeguarded”) and “enhancing transparency in corporate reporting.”
According to OECD projections, by 2030, the ‘Blue Economy’ — defined as all economic sectors which have a direct or indirect link to the ocean — could outperform the growth of the global economy as a whole, both in terms of value added and employment. In the coming decade, marine energy, marine biotechnology, coastal tourism, transport and food production sectors could offer unprecedented development and investment opportunities. However, there is increasing evidence that losses in the ocean’s natural capital resulting from unsustainable economic activity is eroding the resource base on which such growth depends.
“We will make information available on our investments and their social, environmental and economic impacts (positive and negative), with due respect to confidentiality. We will endeavour to report on progress in terms of implementation of these Principles”
The 14 principles — listed below — include one specifically committing to “transparency”, a topic dear to Seafood Intelligence… Signatory parties also commit to taking a science-led and precautionary approach (“The precautionary principle will prevail, especially when scientific data is not available” […] “More broadly, we will endeavour to share scientific information and data on the marine environment.”).
The 14 Principles for Sustainable Ocean Finance can be found here: https://ec.europa.eu/maritimeaffairs/sites/maritimeaffairs/files/declaration-sustainable-blue-economy-finance-principles_en.pdf