Saturday, August 2, 2008


Here is a krill eye!
Krill really are amazing creatures!
Krill picture

Here is a recent story that points out just how little even in 2008 we know about an organism that makes up the largest biomass of any species.
Krill feed on algae that grows on sea ice! This means they are VERY vunerable to climate change. Remember this krill, that needs this ice for its food, IS THE ORGANISM THAT HOLDS THE ANTARCTIC ECOSYSTEM TOGETHER!!!

The word “krill” comes from the Norwegian language and means “whale food”. ( Krill eaters )
CCAMLR is the group setup to oversee the krill fisheries and prevent them from impacting on the animals dependant upon them. CCAMLR is a Hobart (Australia) based treaty organization.

"Krill in the Southern Ocean are managed by the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), which came into force in 1982 as part of the Antarctic Treaty System. The 24 member states include Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Argentina, South Africa, Norway, Japan, South Korea, the United States and the European Union."
ccamlr area
Krill fishing grounds
ccamlr quota
Krill catches

It is frequently abused, notably by such super vessels as the "Antarctic Navigator" (Norwegian), and new entrants to the fishery such as Vanuatu.

Estimates in the 1960's of krill "freed up" by the removal of the Baleen whales suggested that a fishery of 150 million tonnes may now be possible, because of the so called "krill surplus" (Ichii)

Krill aquaculture food

This however did not happen ( Krill crash ) and many now believe that whales maintained high krill levels. Whether this was because they influenced krill behaviour in a positive way or whether whale shit caused algae blooms to feed krill (whales = the oceans gardeners theory) or another cause is hotly debated. Whale poo, top water fertilisation


Aside from the protected Blue whales, the whales that target krill are the ones also targetted by the Japanese kill fleets. Minke, Sei, humpback and fins. Starting to see the conspiracy? Minke are estimated to consume 95% of the total krill consumed by whales in the Southern Ocean. Krill is overwhelmingly the main diet of minke.
The source above does use population data now proven to be obselete (at least double actual) but the conclusions on krill hold true.

"research has found that these amazing little critters are also allies in combating global warming. In daylight, they feed on phytoplankton near the ocean surface.

When darkness falls they sink down, sending waste - which includes large amounts of carbon dioxide from the Earth's atmosphere - toward the sea floor and thereby removing the equivalent annual carbon dioxide emissions of 35 million cars."

excellent document on the entire krill story even if its too much to read, skip to the end so you understand the risk krill is in from greedy exploitation.

No comments: