The fishery for Antarctic krill – recent developments

Authors

  • Stephen Nicol,

    1. Australian Antarctic Division, 203 Channel Highway, Kingston, Tasmania, 7050, Australia
    2. Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Co-Operative Research Centre, Private Bag 80 Hobart, TAS 7001, Australia
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  • Jacqueline Foster,

    1. Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Co-Operative Research Centre, Private Bag 80 Hobart, TAS 7001, Australia
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  • So Kawaguchi

    1. Australian Antarctic Division, 203 Channel Highway, Kingston, Tasmania, 7050, Australia
    2. Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Co-Operative Research Centre, Private Bag 80 Hobart, TAS 7001, Australia
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Dr Stephen Nicol
Australian Antarctic Division, 203 Channel Highway, Kingston, Tasmania 7050, Australia
Tel.: +61 (3) 62-323-324
Fax: +61 (3) 62-323-449
E-mail: steve.nicol@aad.gov.au

Abstract

The fishery for Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) is the largest by tonnage in the Southern Ocean. The catch remained relatively stable at around 120 000 tonnes for 17 years until 2009, but has recently increased to more than 200 000 tonnes. The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources precautionary catch limits for this species total over 8.6 million tonnes so it remains one of the ocean’s largest known underexploited stocks. Recent developments in harvesting technology and in products being derived from krill indicate renewed interest in exploiting this resource. At the same time, there are changes in the Southern Ocean environment that are affecting both krill and the fishery. This paper summarizes the current state of this fishery and highlights the changes that are affecting it.

Ancillary