The company said it was the first krill player to receive the notification and was a visible demonstration of its, “long term commitment to the environment.”
Aker’s krill harvesting practises also won approval from the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) Norway.
"We believe that it is important to work with the most proactive players to ensure the continued sustainability of this fishery," said Nina Jensen, conservation director in WWF Norway.
"Aker Biomarine is the only operator in the krill fishery doing all the right things: 100 per cent observer coverage, vessel monitoring system (VMS), real-time reporting procedures, science and research contributions by allowing onboard scientists at no cost, and economic participation in establishing a science fund."
The certification comes at the time US retailer Whole Foods has raised questions about the sustainability of krill harvesting by stripping krill-containing food supplements from its shelves while seeking further krill data which the industry has been gladly providing.
Much of this sustainability data comes from the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), which sets krill catch quotas and places scientific observers onboard all nine vessels licensed to harvest krill in the Antarctic.
Krill players say adherence to CCAMLR guidelines – which have Greenpeace backing as well as that of more than 20 countries including Norawy – is proof enough that the fishery is well-managed.
Matts Johansen, Aker Biomarine executive vice president of sales and marketing, said the MSC certification was more rigorous than CCAMLR requirements, and noted US retailer Wal-Mart had committed to only stocking seafood-derived products that carried MSC certification.
One boat good, all boats good?
But the US-based Pew Environment Group criticised MSC over the certification because it said it sends a false signal about a fishery it believes requires further data verifying its sustainability.
“Unfortunately, perception is reality,” said Gerald Leape, director of Pew’s Antarctic Krill Conservation Project (AKCP). “The MSC’s label falsely advertises the message that all krill are sustainably caught and that consuming krill-based omega 3 supplements or purchasing farmed salmon raised on krill meal is okay. Nothing could be further from the truth.”
Aker Biomarine chief executive officer Hallvard Muri said his company, “proactively adopted the highest standards in environmentally sustainable management of krill resources to ensure that we maintain the health of our ecosystem and krill populations.”
"This certification from MSC is a hallmark for our customers who can purchase our products with confidence, knowing that our omega-3-rich krill oil was sustainably harvested and that their choices help protect the environment."