Olympic-Rimfrost Antarctic krill fishing activities are already backed by Friend of the Sea (FOS), but Rimfrost sales and marketing director Even T Remøy told us the MSC certification was necessary because, “some customers demand it.”
This was the case even if the criteria pertaining to what measures up as a sustainable fishery were very similar between the two bodies, Remøy said.
“Sustainability is well-documented in this fishery and when we explain it to customers they get it. Some consumers still have doubts and so we continue to work hard to tell the sustainability story.”
“But this kind of effort just shows how much we all want to keep the Antarctic healthy. some customers demand it and we expect it to be finished by the middle of next year.”
Call for input
Third party Det Norske Veritas will carry out the assessment on MSC’s behalf and set to complete in May next year. The group is calling for public input and can be contacted via Guro Meldre Pedersen (Guro.Meldre.Pedersen ‘at’ dnvgl.com).
"It is excellent news that the Olympic Seafood Antarctic krill fishery has entered assessment against the MSC Standard,” said Camiel Derichs, MSC European director.
“MSC certified fisheries have a well-established history of bringing about improvements in sustainable fishing and, by opening this fishery to the public scrutiny of an MSC assessment, we can expect benefits to the South Ocean fisheries and ecosystem.”
FOS fishery stewardship criteria includes:
- Krill stock is not overfished
- Fishery meets management measures
- No endangered species by-catch
- No adverse impact on ecosystem or seabed
- Social accountability
- Gradual reduction of carbon footprint
The certification was achieved after FOS spent time on the vessels that provide krill to the two companies and means their products can carry the FOS logo.
The Antarctic krill fishery
There are 11 licensed boats operating in the Antarctic krill (Euphausia Superba) fishery:Olympic’s Juvel, two owned by fellow Norwegian supplier Aker Biomarine, three from China, three from 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.
The other boats and operations are more focused on animal nutrition.
Under CCAMLR management the krill harvest in 2012 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, the World Wildlife Fund 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.”
Olympic-Rimfrost also has its own ‘Eco-Collecting’ system that adheres to measures such as:
- Minimal trawling time
- No continuous pumping systems
- No bottom-trawling
- No by-catch
- Small quantities of krill
- Immediate processing
- Fresh raw material
Aker recently had its own two-boat operation re-approved by MSC after an 18-month audit.
The Antarctic krill fishing season typically runs from February to August.