Krill are among the most prolific and vital life forms in the ocean. These small shrimp-like animals congregate in enormous numbers. Krill are preyed on by everything to tiny fish to whales, which eat them by the ton.
As harvesting of krill has increased, scientists have called for strict regulations to protect krill populations. Several studies have shown a link between krill abundance and wildlife.
According to NOAA Fisheries, roughly 200,000 tons of krill are harvested in the Southern Ocean each year. Krill are harvested and used to produce omega-3 supplements, fishing baits, animal food, and other products.
Scientists estimate the volume of krill in the Southern Ocean to be between 170 and 300 million tons.
NOAA Bans Commercial Harvesting of Krill off the coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has published a
final rule in the Federal Register prohibiting the harvesting of krill in the Exclusive
Economic Zone (EEZ) off the coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington.
The rule goes into effect on August 12, 2009. Krill are a small shrimp-like crustacean and a key source of nutrition in the marine food web.
“Krill are the foundation for a healthy marine ecosystem,” said Mark Helvey,
NOAA’s Fisheries Service Southwest Assistant Regional Administrator for Sustainable Fisheries.
“Protecting this vital food resource will help protect and maintain marine
resources and put federal regulations in line with West-Coast states.”
source: NOAA press release