Protecting the krill

Antarctica is the world’s last great refuge, guaranteed by treaty to be free from commercial exploitation. Unfortunately, this protection doesn’t extend to the Southern Ocean that surrounds Antarctica, leaving its immense marine life vulnerable. The previously pristine ocean that surrounds Antarctica, untouched and unexploited by people and corporations, is now under attack posing serious risks to various marine creatures with this “Gold Rush” of the Southern Ocean centered around one species. Unfortunately, it’s the same species that feeds all of Antarctica’s immense marine life, such as penguins and blue whales – krill, a tiny crustacean. Our campaign focused on asking big retailers in the U.S. and UK to drop omega-3 supplements based on krill and to protect the Antarctica. We were part of the Lifeline Antarctica Coalition.

Krill, Baby, Krill – The corporations profiting from plundering Antarctica

August 2022

This report investigates the main culprits responsible for the plundering of the cornerstone of the Antarctic food web: krill.

Much of the marine life in the Southern Ocean is either a direct predator of krill or just one step removed, meaning that many animals – including whales, penguins, seals and squid – are dependent on krill as a crucial food source. Numerous studies have demonstrated how targeted krill-fishing activities are exacerbating existing threats towards krill and the predators that feed on them – including from climate change.

The investigation reveals the companies that are driving the demand for krill products through the sales of krill-based health supplements and krill feed for aquaculture. It uncovered that over 68% of the 50 major global retailers investigated sell krill-based health supplements. We have also looked at the use of krill in aquaculture, focusing on the sales of farmed salmon in Europe. Despite an endemic lack of transparency with regards to the origin of aquafeed, we were able to confirm that all of the 16 supermarkets investigated sell salmon that is fed on krill. Furthermore, none of the companies in the aquafeed supply chains were found to have policies that would exclude the use of krill.

The report also exposes the krill industry’s tactics to greenwash the harvest of krill, including marketing krill as a premium sustainable product through the use of its own and third party eco-labels. The report concludes that in light of repeated failures to protect krill, an immediate moratorium should be imposed. It also urges retailers, feed producers and fish farms to phase out the use of wild caught fish for aquaculture, including krill. It advises consumers to stop using krill oil health supplements and to ask their supermarkets to phase out the use of krill in farmed seafood.

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Vacuuming Antarctica for krill – The Corporations plundering the Earth’s last Frontier

January 2015

Around the world, growing demand for farmed fish and omega-3 health supplements is coming at a hidden cost to the Antarctic, one of the last unspoiled oceans on the planet. In the quest to exploit the “pink gold” of Antarctica’s krill as a raw input into both fish farming and omega-3 supplements, this pristine environment and its whales, penguins, seals and birds are dangerously threatened. But it doesn’t need to be this way – and it is time for the companies threatening the Antarctic to hear this message.

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Coalition letter to Wallgreens Boots Alliance

January 2016

This letter was sent to the CEO of WBA Stefano Pessina to join us in helping ensure protection of Antarctica’s pristine oceans and marine life by removing omega-3 health supplements made from Antarctic krill from your shelves. WBA is the world’s biggest retailer of nutritional supplements and as such they have a special power and responsibility to protect this wildlife sanctuary by reducing humanity’s demand for krill.

Download the letter


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