Voluntary actions by the Antarctic krill fishing industry help reduce potential negative impacts on land-based marine predators during breeding, highlighting the need for CCAMLR action
The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources is responsible for management of the Antarctic marine ecosystem, including its living resources. The Commission has yet to implement precautionary measures that protect predators dependent upon Antarctic krill from potential food competition with fisheries where these now increasingly spatially aggregate. Here, we describe voluntary buffer zones (VBZ) implemented in 2018 by the Association of Responsible Krill harvesting companies (ARK) following negotiations with environmental NGOs. The VBZ now prohibit krill fishing during the penguin-breeding season around important penguin colonies along the Antarctic Peninsula. We describe the background of the VBZ and further actions that would ensure ongoing ecological benefits. Lack of data and delays in the implementation of the Commission's revised krill fishery management framework continue to concern NGOs and other stakeholders, especially as part of the management framework will expire in November 2022. Without action by CCAMLR, the ARK VBZ will be the only regulation providing precautionary protection at relevant spatial and temporal scales. The VBZ are an example of how responsible industry can help to protect marine ecosystems when regional management is unable to act given lack of data, and/or associated legal and political constraints.
Authors: Godø, Olav Rune, Trathan, Philip ORCID record for Philip Trathan