06/22/2010 - A decision by a nonprofit organization to certify a company’s Antarctic krill harvesting has drawn fierce criticism from conservationists and undercut the group’s image as a diligent steward of ocean fishing stocks.
Krill, tiny pink shrimplike organisms that dwell in vast schools, are an essential link in the Antarctic food chain, a food source for penguins, seals and many species of whales in the Southern Ocean. Fisheries have harvested it as food for farm-raised salmon and for its oil, rich in omega-3 acids, used in human dietary supplements.
Last month the 15-year-old Marine Stewardship Council certified the krill fishing of the Norwegian company Aker BioMarine as environmentally sustainable. In essence, it said that the operation was in keeping with its core principles — namely, that fisheries must maintain a healthy population, must not damage the ecosystem and must be effectively managed.
But Gerald Leape, director of the Pew Environment Group’s nonprofit Antarctic Krill Conservation Project, said that the council “ignored irrefutable evidence” of threats to the Antarctic ecosystem in granting the certification, which gives Aker BioMarine the right to label its krill-oil pills with the council’s blue logo.
Read the full article, Krill Harvest Certification Upsets Conservationists on the New York Times' Web site.