A GREENPEACE campaign to protect the Antarctic Ocean has received the support of the vast majority of krill fishing companies operating in the region.
The move will see nearly all krill companies working in the Antarctic voluntarily stop fishing in ‘buffer zones’ around breeding colonies of penguins, to safeguard Antarctic wildlife.
Krill, eaten by penguins, seals, whales and other marine life, is also an ingredient for aquaculture feeds.
It not only has health and nutrition properties but is also a natural source of carotenoids, which give salmon and shrimp their pink colour.
The krill companies have 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.
They are are all members of the Association of Responsible Krill harvesting companies (ARK), and represent 85 per cent of the krill fishing industry in the Antarctic.
Greenpeace announced its campaign at an event in Cambridge, attended by scientists and Oscar winning actor Javier Bardem, who joined the conservation group’s expedition to the Antarctic in January 2018.
Frida Bengtsson, of Greenpeace’s Protect the Antarctic campaign, said: ‘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.’
Kristine Hartmann, executive vice president of Aker BioMarine, the largest krill fishing company in the world, said: ‘Safeguarding the Antarctic ecosystem in which we operate is part of who we are.
‘Our ongoing dialogue with ARK members, scientists and the community of environmental NGOs, including Greenpeace, is what makes additional efforts like this possible.
‘We are positive that ARK’S commitment will help ensure krill as a sustainable and stable source of healthy omega-3s for the future.’
Picture: Actor Javier Bardem and submarine pilot John Hocevar of Greenpeace in the Antarctic in January