News that doesn't receive the necessary attention.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

China says Antarctic is treasure house for all human beings which China should go and share, that Antarctic contains "global protein riches" which China will access by increasing its krill catches. Krill are staple of penguins, whales, seals, seabirds, and fish-Sydney Morning Herald

4/12/2015, "China moves in for the krill," Sydney Morning Herald, Andrew Darby

"China has declared plans for an unprecedented expansion of fishing for Antarctic krill, the crustacean at the heart of the polar food web.

To make use of what China's state-owned agricultural development enterprise says are global protein riches, the country plans a seven-fold expansion in the annual catch, to the alarm of environmentalists. Krill underpin the survival of Antarctic marine life including whales, seals, penguins, seabirds and fish.

Reported in the China Daily, the proposed expansion would test the strength of the Australian-based organisation managing Antarctic fisheries.

The planned expansion comes after China stood with Russia against the creation of big marine reserves at the last meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources.

There may be about 500 million tonnes of a single species of krill, euphausia superba, in the Southern Ocean, according to the Australian Antarctic Division. Last year, five countries caught 291,370 tonnes for the growing krill oil nutraceuticals industry, and for aquaculture fish meal.

The China National Agricultural Development group is reported to have caught about 32,000 tonnes, but chairman Liu Shenli said he wanted to increase investment in Antarctic krill fishing.

Mr Liu was reported as saying China should aim to harvest 1 to 2 million tonnes of krill, and claiming the Antarctic could provide 100 million tonnes of krill annually.

"Krill provides very good quality protein that can be processed into food and medicine," Mr Lui was quoted as saying in the state-owned newspaper.

"The Antarctic is a treasure house for all human beings, and China should go there and share."

China has the largest fleet authorised to fish for krill in the Antarctic, with eight 5000 to 7000-tonne factory freezer trawlers. Its agricultural group controls the country's largest high-seas fishing fleet.

However, any increase in krill quotas would have to go before the Hobart-based, 25-nation Antarctic conservation commission.

The commission has set a notional krill catch limit of 4.2 million tonnes a year, far more than is currently taken. Tony Press, author of Australia's 20 Year Antarctic Strategic Plan, said the bureaucratic machinery was in place to deal with monitoring a significant increase in the amount of krill taken.

However, Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition senior adviser Rodolfo Werner said it was worrying that China's plan would lead to more krill being taken than the commission was able to manage and monitor.

"Many things should happen before [the commission] could allow such a large catch," Dr Werner said.".

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"The krill is quickly frozen and into processed into pellets for aquaculture and livestock operations, fish bait, and high-value “nutraceuticals” such as omega-3 dietary supplements."...

4/30/15, "Beware: China announces plan to seven-fold increase Antarctic krill catches," en.mercopress.com, Uruguay

"Conservation groups and scientists worry that China’s push to boost its harvest of krill -- a shrimp-like creature used for aquaculture feed and human supplements -- may leave Antarctica’s whales, seals and penguins struggling to survive. China’s leaders say they want a seven-fold increase in krill production, according to a recent report in the state-owned China Daily newspaper.

China is one of several nations, including Norway, Korea and Chile, harvesting krill with massive factory ships dragging miles-long trawl nets through the productive cold waters of the Southern Ocean. The krill is quickly frozen and into processed into pellets for aquaculture and livestock operations, fish bait, and high-value “nutraceuticals” such as omega-3 dietary supplements.
 
That sharing may be tough for the animals that rely on krill as their main source of food. When penguins and other animals breed, they can only travel so far while raising their young. That’s especially true around the Antarctic Peninsula, which happens to be a hotspot for both krill and the larger creatures that eat it.

We will increase our investment in the Antarctic area in terms of krill fishing,said Liu Shenli, chairman of the China National Agricultural Development Group and a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.Krill provides very good quality protein that can be processed into food and medicine. The Antarctic is a treasure house for all human beings, and China should go there and share.

“The issue isn’t so much the size of the entire (krill) population, but where they are taking it,” said Claire Christian, a spokeswoman for the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition, a Washington-based advocacy group. “Some of these larger ships could deplete all the krill in a local area. That would create problems.”

Fishing around Antarctica is governed by the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, (CCAMLR), a Hobart-Australia-based treaty organization. China is a signatory to the treaty.

While the current 4.2 million metric ton catch limit for Antarctic krill is much higher than the amount currently harvested, the problem is that the science behind the krill population estimates may be outdated.

George Watters, a fisheries scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Southwest Marine Fisheries Center in La Jolla, Calif., says the surveys that resulted in the limit were conducted more than 15 years ago. Watters says that new studies are needed to get a better picture of how abundant krill is today, especially around the Antarctica Peninsula.

The water and air temperature around the peninsula has warmed faster than any other place on Earth, leading to concerns about populations of several penguin species, whales and other marine mammals. Krill forms the base of the food chain, and may be at risk as well, explained Watters.

“Climate change is a major force in that region, and is creating big changes in the (Antarctic Peninsula) ecosystem,” Watters said. “A legitimate concern is to how productive will the krill stock be in the future. There are papers to suggest it will be less productive. That’s a reason why there is an effort to change the catch limit for krill so it is updated more regularly.”

Since the ocean around Antarctica is considered international waters, enforcement of fisheries rules relies on self-reporting by countries that sign the CCAMLR treaty. That could make China’s new effort harder to monitor at sea, especially since it has eight 5,000 to 7,000 metric ton factory krill trawling ships, more than any other nation. (FIS)" [FIS might be Fish Information Services]

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