Olympic Seafoods-owned krill player, Rimfrost, is trumpeting a new scheme that raises traceability levels in a sector that continues to suffer sustainability attacks despite independent sources calling the fishery one of the world’s best managed.
Rimfrost spokesperson Patricia Wiklund said the company's ‘Eco-Collecting’ transparency initiative was not intended to compete with or devalue other certification schemes like the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) or World Wildlife Fund (WWF), but represented the Norwegian firm’s awareness that operators in the Antarctic fishery, “needed to take more steps than required”.
There are 11 licensed boats operating in the Antarctic – Olympic’s Juvel, two owned by Aker Biomarine, three from China, three from the South Korea and one each from Chile and Poland.
For human nutrition – most of the catch comes from Aker and Olympic and their boats are the only ones to have external certification outside of the central fishery management – the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), which sets quotas.
“We are emphasising this because there continues to be questions about the fishery’s regulation.”
Wiklund said she was disappointed to see a recent celebrity chef-hosted documentary that aired on Channel 4 in the UK called ‘Hugh’s Fish Fight’ that spent an hour discussing the krill sector and potential problems that may arise from increased demand for the omega-3 source, but did not once mention CCAMLR.
“Some of the recent publicity the Antarctic krill fishery has received, has given the impression that the industry is an unregulated ‘wild west’ where anybody can just turn up and start vacuuming as much krill from the ocean as they please. Of course, this is not true at all,” she said.
“The fishery is well regulated by CCAMLR with licenses and quotas based on scientific assessments. And this is the way it should be, we are absolutely in favour of regulation.”
Under CCAMLR management the krill harvest last season was 157,000 tons, below the cautionary trigger level of 640,000 tons for any environmental concern with krill or other species like seals and marine birds that prey on krill.
The fishery is backed up by the likes of MSC, WWF as well as the British Antarctic Survey along with researchers like Ray Hilbron from the University of Washington.
In his book ‘Overfishing’ he praised the Antarctic krill fishery and CCAMLR as a rare example of a well-run fishery that had, “implemented an ecosystems approach to fisheries management and finding ways to reduce illegal fishing.”
For Rimfrost Eco-Collecting is marked in areas like:
- Minimal trawling time
- No continuous pumping systems
- No bottom-trawling
- No by-catch
- Small quantities of krill
- Immediate processing
- Fresh raw material