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