As we learn more about the possible health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, such as studies suggesting they may help you maintain a healthy heart, promote healthy inflammatory responses, and support all your cellular functions, the need for omega-3 fatty acid sources increases.
Likewise, concerns about the sustainability of fisheries that feed millions of people and provide sources of omega-3 fatty acids for us, our pets, and fish farms is also increasing.
Environmentally conscious harvesting of a tiny, shrimp-like crustacean called krill provides a sustainable source of omega-3s that may be able to meet the needs of humans without harming the planet.
Read on to learn the things we like about the sustainable harvesting of krill, the focus on marine conservation in the Antarctic (Southern) Ocean, and the oil that delivers omega-3s to us, our pets, and fish farms across the world.
Why Harvesting Krill Sustainably is Crucial
Krill is an excellent source of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), phospholipids, the essential nutrient choline and astaxanthin, an antioxidant. Studies show that krill meal improves the size, quality, and health of farmed fish and shrimp, increasing the omega-3s in these food sources. Further research shows that Iditarod racing dogs fed a krill supplement had a higher Omega-3 Index and reduced inflammation and muscle damage associated with this grueling race. Krill oil’s possible health benefits for people are also continuously being studied.
But krill’s possible health benefits for us, farmed fish, and pets are superseded by its importance to the ecosystem of the entire Southern Ocean. It’s one of the planet’s largest biomasses, crucial to the survival of whales, penguins, seals, fish, and seabirds that feed on it. Krill and its nutrients are considered essential to all life on the planet.
This is why we applaud the mission to sustainably harvest krill, led by Norwegian company Aker BioMarine, who provides the Superba™ krill oil we feature in our Omega-3 Phospholipid. Their website reads, “to us, it makes no sense to take something out of the ocean to improve our health, if it simultaneously compromises the health of the ocean.” We agree.
What We Applaud about Sustainable Krill Harvesting
An Environmentally-Conscious Foundation – In partnership with the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition (ASOC) and WWF-Norway, Aker BioMarine established the Antarctic Wildlife Research Fund (AWR) which has funded nine research projects to improve fishery management for Antarctic krill. Aker BioMarine is giving the AWR Fund a million dollars over five years.
Promoting Sustainability & Marine Ecosystems – Aker BioMarine works with the Association of Responsible Krill Harvesting Companies (ARK), which created Voluntary Penguin Buffer Zones to protect penguins during their breeding season and permanently closed the area on the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula to harvesting. ARK supports the scientific research and education of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).
Precautionary, Sustainable Fishery of Area 48 – Aker BioMarine and other companies harvesting Euphausia superba (Antarctic) krill only work in Area 48, just below the tip of South America. Area 48 is considered one of the most precautionary and sustainable fisheries in the world, according to CCAMLR. The biomass there is estimated at 60 million tons. Antarctica’s krill population is estimated at 379 million tons. All harvests are reported to are reported to CCAMLR. When the limit is reached, the season is over.
Krill Harvests with 1% Catch Limits – The annual catch limit of krill in Area 48 is only 1%, compared to a typical precautionary catch limit of 10% or more in most fisheries. This leaves 99% of krill for predators and repopulation.
Patented Eco-Harvesting Practices – Aker BioMarine uses a patented Eco-Harvesting system that brings live krill on board in water through a conveyor hose with almost no bycatch of other fish or animals. Annually, its bycatch is “about a bucket,” says Joy Parillo, Aker BioMarine marketing associate.
On-board Processing Centers – Krill is harvested and processed immediately into krill meal on the company’s custom-built vessels the Antarctic Endurance, Saga Sea and Antarctic Sea. A dedicated transport vessel, the La Manche, picks up processed krill and transports it to Uruguay. This process ensures optimal product quality and protects fishermen in rough, unforgiving Antarctic waters, adds Parillo.
“It’s still relatively slow to travel by boat. This is easier on the fishermen, they don’t have to go back and forth,” she says. “That’s because of our owner, who was a commercial fisherman. Our fishermen have such a love and a passion for working on these boats.”
Dedication to Science, Research & Innovation – Aker BioMarine’s Flexitech technology purifies and concentrates krill oil’s beneficial components including omega-3s and phospholipids and removes salt for a clean taste and smell. Our Omega-3 Phospholipid features the 100% pure Superba™ krill oil made with this technology.
Certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) – Aker BioMarine’s harvesting practices and its krill ingredients are certified by the MSC, which means they come from a fishery that meets the most stringent sustainability standards and they are traceable throughout the supply chain. This traceability also shows us exactly where our krill oil comes from.
An “A” Rating for the Antarctic Krill Fishery – The Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP), a non-profit that evaluates and rates the sustainability of fisheries and the health of the biomass, gives the Antarctic krill fishery it’s top rating.Balancing the health of the planet and its people is ongoing work. The sustainable harvest of Antarctic krill that may benefit people and animals in many ways is exemplary. We applaud these efforts.