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If krill disappears, whales will go extinct

At less than 10 centimeters in length and two grams in weight, Antarctic krill ( Euphausia superba ) is the main food source for seabirds, seals and most of the whale species that use the waters of the Austral Whale Sanctuary as a zone. feeding. However, the Cetacea Conservation Center of Chile warns that in recent years the Antarctic krill fishery has undergone an accelerated expansion due to its use as feed for farmed salmon as well as for the food industry composed of natural substances and that It promises to be therapeutic (nutraceutical, they call it: you have to invent a name to sell better).

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Recently China, a country that has increased its activities and interests in Antarctica, announced that several Antarctic krill trawling vessels are preparing to set sail for the Southern Ocean, declared a Whale Sanctuary by the International Whaling Commission in 1994. The expedition is part of a five-year exploration program to investigate the potential of this small crustacean in expanding fish farming.

The Antarctic krill fishing industry projections are bad news for the already over-exploited marine ecosystem. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in 2009 80% of commercial fish species in the world were exploited at their highest level or at a higher level. On the other hand, marine researchers warned that overfishing has consumed 95% of the large species of fish in most of the world’s oceans and some of them, such as bluefin tuna, are on the verge of extinction. Although the Antarctic krill population is not yet in danger, specialists fear that an accelerated expansion of its exploitation will increase the pressure on the Antarctic marine ecosystem, which is already threatened by the loss of ice.ocean temperature and acidification .

In addition, the Marine Stewardship Council last June certified the Antarctic krill fishery developed by the Norwegian company Aker BioMarine as “environmentally sustainable”. This company has a vessel, called the Saga Sea , that can continuously pump and suck up thousands of tons of krill . As a result, the fishing season for this single vessel is equivalent to the catch capacity of several traditional trawler vessels.

The greatest concern of scientists is related to the food needs of other predatory species of Antarctic krill that inhabit the Antarctic coasts, where this species is fished. Although penguins and seals breed on land, they need to find food in the sea to feed themselves and nurture their young. If krill around their foraging areas are diminished by fishing, the animals will have to travel long distances to find food and this could negatively impact their ability to maintain and reproduce successfully. For specialist Gerald Leape, director of the Antarctic Krill Conservation Project, the MSC “ignored irrefutable evidence about threats to the Antarctic ecosystem when granting certification.”

If the krill disappears, so will the whales, seals, penguins and all the species that make up that food chain.

If you want to read more articles similar to If krill disappears, whales will become extinct , we recommend that you enter our category of Endangered Animals .

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