Predators consume around 32% the total krill biomass each year, far more than the 1% total catch allowance for krill fishing vessels.

Taken together, the evidence is overwhelming: krill populations and predator populations of penguins, seals and whales are not being influenced by krill fishing. Current krill catch limits are so small in relation to the overall population, as to be insignificant. ‘Trigger’ levels set by the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) also ensure that fishing effort is spread across the whole area, rather than concentrated in one area.

Population dynamics of predators such as penguins are complex, some are decreasing others are increasing. Overwhelmingly the evidence is that these changes to krill and penguin population dynamics are being caused by oceanographic cycles and climate change, not fishing for krill. National Members of the CCAMLR annually monitor penguin breeding success in the south Atlantic, and so far have not been able to detect any impact of localized krill fishing even when this is relatively concentrated close to monitored colonies.

However, this is no reason to be complacent. CCAMLR is well known for being extremely cautious in its approach to fishing impacts on ecosystems. The matter is kept under regular review by the Commission and scientists monitor krill, penguin, seal and whale populations to ensure a sustainable future for krill and the complex and beautiful ecosystem that depends on it.


Protecting Seal and Penguins

Estimated Predator Demand of Krill in Area 48