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Environmental Issues

Are krill considered renewable or nonrenewable?


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September 27, 2010 5:07PM

Whether krill is a renewable or nonrenewable source is a subject of some controversy.

Krill harvesting is controversial because it (especially Euphasia superba from the waters of the Antarctic) is at the bottom of the food chain and the main diet of many species, including whales and penguins.

The treaty organization that manages the Antarctic fisheries (Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, or CCAMLR) sets "precautionary limits" on the amount of krill that can be caught in any time period, upon the advice of scientists from the organization's member nations. These "precautionary" limits are actually far below what the scientists estimate is a sustainable (renewable) catch, but they are playing it very safe since the resource is so important.

Certain environmental groups want a complete ban on krill fishing, based on the idea that we really don't know enough about how the fishing will affect the supply, and because the krill population appears to be affected by global warming. However, the scientists of CCAMLR are adamant that the krill fishery is one of the best managed in the world.

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