Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Fishing Companies Halt Activities in Waters Proposed for Antarctic Sanctuary

Oceans
Weddell seals live around Antarctica and nearby islands. changehali / CC BY 2.0

The five companies responsible for 85 percent of krill fishing in Antarctica announced Monday that they would put a "voluntarily permanent stop" to fishing in vulnerable areas earmarked by conservationists for the world's largest ocean sanctuary, the Guardian reported.


Krill are an important food source for iconic Antarctic marine life like whales, seals and penguins. They also help fight climate change by eating carbon-heavy food near the ocean's surface and excreting it in deeper water, according to the Guardian.

"The momentum for protection of the Antarctic's waters and wildlife is snowballing," Frida Bengtsson of Greenpeace's Protect the Antarctic campaign told The Guardian. "This is a bold and progressive move from these krill fishing companies, and we hope to see the remainder of the krill industry follow suit."

The five companies make up the Association of Responsible Krill Harvesting (ARK) and come from Norway, Chile, South Korea and China, AFP reported.

They said they would stop fishing in the coastal waters that Greenpeace and 1.7 million supporters want to see converted into a sanctuary and would also restrict fishing in "buffer zones" around penguin breeding sites, according to the Guardian.

The ARK also officially backed a proposal to create a network of marine protected areas (MPAs) in the waters around Antarctica, AFP reported.

"Our members agree that the industry must develop sustainably to ensure long-term viability of the krill stocks and the predators that depend on it," ARK said in a statement reported by AFP.

The ARK's decision comes after supporters of the sanctuary pushed retailers including Holland and Barret to stop selling supplements containing krill, the Guardian reported.

The fate of the sanctuary now rests in the hands of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), which consists of 24 governments that manage Antarctic waters.

The CCAMLR passed a U.S.-and-New-Zealand-proposed sanctuary around the Ross Sea in 2016, but rejected a plan backed by Australia and France for a sanctuary in East Antarctica last year, AFP reported.

The EU proposed another area five times the size of Germany in the Weddell Sea last October, and Greenpeace launched its current campaign to support that proposal. The CCAMLR will vote on the proposal this October.

The Pew Charitable Trusts' Antarctic and Southern Ocean head Andrea Kavanagh hoped the krill companies' decision would inspire the governments to act.

"Governments should follow industry's lead and support MPAs," she told AFP.

World Wide Fund for Nature's (WWF) Antarctica program head Chris Johnson said it was important that the companies' voluntary action was backed up by enforceable laws.

"A comprehensive and effective network of marine protected areas surrounding the continent—which must include no-take marine sanctuaries—is essential for safeguarding biodiversity and improving sustainable fisheries," he told The Independent.


EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

By Michael Svoboda

The enduring pandemic will make conventional forms of travel difficult if not impossible this summer. As a result, many will consider virtual alternatives for their vacations, including one of the oldest forms of virtual reality – books.

Read More Show Less
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility on Thursday accused NOAA of ignoring its own scientists' findings about the endangerment of the North Atlantic right whale. Lauren Packard / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

By Julia Conley

As the North Atlantic right whale was placed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's list of critically endangered species Thursday, environmental protection groups accusing the U.S. government of bowing to fishing and fossil fuel industry pressure to downplay the threat and failing to enact common-sense restrictions to protect the animals.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Beth Ann Mayer

Since even moderate-intensity workouts offer a slew of benefits, walking is a good choice for people looking to stay healthy.

Read More Show Less
Much of Eastern Oklahoma, including most of Tulsa, remains an Indian reservation, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday. JustTulsa / CC BY 2.0

Much of Eastern Oklahoma, including most of Tulsa, remains an Indian reservation, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday.

Read More Show Less
The Firefly Watch project is among the options for aspiring citizen scientists to join. Mike Lewinski / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 2.0

By Tiffany Means

Summer and fall are great seasons to enjoy the outdoors. But if you're already spending extra time outside because of the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be out of ideas on how to make fresh-air activities feel special. Here are a few suggestions to keep both adults and children entertained and educated in the months ahead, many of which can be done from the comfort of one's home or backyard.

Read More Show Less
People sit at the bar of a restaurant in Austin, Texas, on June 26, 2020. Texas Governor Greg Abbott ordered bars to be closed by noon on June 26 and for restaurants to be reduced to 50% occupancy. Coronavirus cases in Texas spiked after being one of the first states to begin reopening. SERGIO FLORES / AFP via Getty Images

The coronavirus may linger in the air in crowded indoor spaces, spreading from one person to the next, the World Health Organization acknowledged on Thursday, as The New York Times reported. The announcement came just days after 239 scientists wrote a letter urging the WHO to consider that the novel coronavirus is lingering in indoor spaces and infecting people, as EcoWatch reported.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A never-before-documented frog species has been discovered in the Peruvian highlands and named Phrynopus remotum. Germán Chávez

By Angela Nicoletti

The eastern slopes of the Andes Mountains in central Perú are among the most remote places in the world.

Read More Show Less