Finding factual science-based information about krill oil on the Internet can be a challenge. Most of what the seeker finds is opinion based on some marketer’s desire to sell either his krill-oil product or his competitor’s desire to sell a competing omega-3 product. Or rumors being stated as fact.
A case in point: Recently Whole Foods Market, a major retailer of natural and organic products, declared that it was removing krill-oil products from its shelves. The statement reads, “Declines of some predator populations in the areas where the krill fishery operates suggest that fishery management needs to better understand how to evaluate the prey requirements of other marine species in order to set sustainable catch levels for krill.”
Whole Foods has yet to respond to queries about the scientific basis of its judgment on the issue. We can speculate that whatever staffer made the decision did so out of sincere motives and legitimate concerns for the Antarctic marine ecosystem. But it appears that the decision was made without having a full understanding of the current state of knowledge in this field, and the rigorous means by which this ecosystem is being managed. That krill is the favorite food of such appealing species as whales and penguins makes it easy to malign those who are harvesting krill for human consumption.
What is the truth about krill in the Antarctic?
However, the truth is out there if one digs deeply enough … or asks the right person.
The right person, in this case, turns out to be Dr. Simeon Hill, a senior scientific officer of at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) at Cambridge, England. BAS is one of the world’s leading environmental research centers and is responsible for the UK’s national scientific activities in Antarctica.
BAS is an active participant in the international treaty organization called the Commission for Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) that formed back in 1982 specifically to manage Antarctic fisheries, protect the predators that depend on fished species, and protect the Antarctic krill fishery.
“It makes sense [that someone might make such a decision] seems likely that Whole Foods’ decision is based on an appeal to emotions. However, they don’t seem to be applying the same strict criteria on sustainability across their whole range of products,” Dr. Hill said in an interview in May 2010 with WellWise.org.
“I would argue that sustainability is a far greater issue in many other fisheries than in the krill fishery,” he said.
Determining numbers of creatures in any particular fishery is, to say the least, an inexact science. To illustrate his point, Dr. Hill quotes the famous oceanographer and fisheries management guru Professor John Shepherd: “Counting fish is like counting trees, except they are invisible and they keep moving.”
That being said, however, CCAMLR uses a “precautionary approach” to minimize the risks to krill and its predators. Firstly, CCAMLR scientists have determined that the total sustainable catch for krill is 3.47 million metric tons per year. Secondly, even further safeguards have been put into place, mandating that when the catch reaches a “trigger level” of just 620,000 metric tons the fishery must close for the season.
The science behind managing the krill fishery
CCAMLR scientists determined this “trigger level” from historical records, which show no evidence of the krill fishery harming predators. Thirdly, there are restrictions on where the fishery can operate and how much of the “trigger level” it can catch in each area. Finally, current annual catches are around 200,000 metric tons, a third of the “trigger level” or a mere six percent of the sustainable catch..
“The potential effect on predatory species is precisely why we’re taking such precautions in the fishery,” Dr. Hill says.
There are just nine ships currently licensed to fish for krill in the Antarctic, and as of last year half of them are required to have scientific observers on board to ensure that the catch limits are not being surpassed. Another of the CCAMLR scientists, Dr. So Kawaguchi of the Australian Antarctic Division, believes this is well within sustainability limits. “For now, as long as the catches are distributed across the areas, I don’t think there would be an immediate threat to krill population itself with the levels at which krill is currently being taken.”
Dr. Hill speculates that the reason a company such as Whole Foods may be paying attention at all is because of the public nature of the scientific debate over Antarctic fisheries. Science arrives at conclusions through open debate about its findings, and the debate over the Antarctic fisheries has been more publicized than most.
“Potentially, the openness about these issues is being misinterpreted, emphasizing the dangers,” Dr. Hill says. “But good management recognizes and minimizes these dangers. CCAMLR takes a very precautionary approach. The bottom line is that the fishery is only allowed to take a fifth of the sustainable catch and there are also spatial restrictions designed to protect predators.”
The truth is that “the krill fishery is managed much better that many other fisheries in the world,” Dr. Hill says.
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Did you know you can tickle carp and make them go into a trance?! Why is this and how can such things help you catch carp? Carp can see in the near infrared and near ultraviolet ranges and are far more sensitive than the average human! Also carp hear extremely well too and they can hear sounds in overlapping frequency range to humans (which means what you hear they hear including 10 decibel bite alarms contacting your line!) Carp learn to fear due to instinctively programmed negative associations so anglers must beware of all they are doing! Now read on to discover more about fish senses and how to use them to your advantage to catch more fish!
Did you know certain carp retinal (eye) cells are sensitive to things like caffeine and other substances? I knew a young kid once who drive me nuts because all he kept saying all the time was did you know. I asked myself what he was trying to prove by doing this – he was only learning on the fast-track! Then it struck me that the biggest lesson for me here (that I had long over-looked,) was the fact that so many of us adults pretty much stop asking questions all the time – and that means we are missing out on loads of good stuff to help us catch many more fish!
For instance, why does a carp mind if you throw lots of free baits out to him but then object to you plonking a 5 ounce lead on his head – I don’t know! It seems to me he would appreciate all that free food and in response kindly jump on your hook by way of thanks. But then maybe he also does not particularly like hearing the vibration of your tight lines in the water sending out vibrations like so many wind turbines on your doorstep. Or maybe he would prefer a more musical melody coming down your fishing lines from your bite alarms set at full volume!
Maybe a Mozart or Beethoven symphony instead of a boring single note alarm sound would produce more fish bites by stimulating their mood better – who knows! This might sound too far-fetched to be true but carp can hear the vibrations of plankton and chose between areas of different concentrations of them in order to feed on them with much more energy-efficiency; carp are really sensitive creatures.
In fact if you think carp are simple rough types that like their alcohol and rough mating (a bit like many more hirsute macho-appearing beer-swilling rugby fanatics,) just remember appearances can be deceptive. Carp are renowned for biting your balls off and sucking your maggots dry without even getting hooked – they are that sensitive when playing with your baits that is!
The truth is that carp sensitivity makes certain they keep on adapting (and surviving,) and in fishing their sensitivity is their greatest strength against us (if we do not keep adapting and exploiting their sensitivity back against them!) Remember that we sensitise them when we condition them in every way by actually being there on the bank and fishing for them!
We humans as long-lost descendants of ancient teleost fish such as carp still have strange habits and behaviours from the past that help us adapt or fit in faster; so giving us better chances of survival. Here is a strange thing; how is it this possible: The very first utterances that a deaf human baby ever speaks can have the local accent of its mother. Is the liquid environment of the womb significant here in pre-learning before birth?! Of course larval stages of all kinds of creatures do things that only instincts and genetics appear to explain! What do crustacean larvae do in respect of tides, what do baby fish immediately do when hatching out of spawn and what stimulates such behaviours anyway?
Now just because you can see a fish and he seems quite happy and contented it does not mean he had not noticed you creeping along the bank in your Realtree one piece sniper outfit. A carp can see into near infrared so when at the surface or slightly out of the water do you think there is half a chance your own body heat will give you away like you were dressed like a luminescent Ronald MacDonald?! Mr Carp in all likelihood would know all about you in ways you have no conception of and that science has yet to discover.
We like carp are over 95 percent water. Good clean water is getting more difficult to find and even water from reservoirs still needs reverse osmosis treatment and subtle energy treatment to make it far less tainted; the average home water filter is just an inadequate joke. Adult carp take a lot of punishment and can even survive in quite low oxygen conditions and can thrive despite certain pH and salinity conditions, but even they have their limits! We humans are creating carp fisheries but our consumption is gradually poisoning waterways one way or another.
Remember we are what we eat and drink as are carp. The water quality of so many carp fisheries is a very big problem when hot conditions occur and this is something every carp angler needs to investigate to reveal to themselves the reasons why this is. All this can help you make better catches, make better baits and improve conditions for carp and improve our own personal health; carp nutrition is a great teacher of what is great for humans to consume also – so take note!
Now science is arrogant enough to think it knows so much for certain, and yet it does not know what came first – the chicken or the egg. Did a bigger human brain and the ability to walk and talk or make tools come first? Does our ancient reptilian brain used in fight or flight mean we were originally like reptiles, mammal or chickens anyway mammals were present on the scene before dinosaurs appeared and crocodiles were there before dinosaurs too!
There is evidence that some dinosaurs had feathers because that helped energy efficiency, but of course there is no point carp having feathers because they are cold-blooded and are the same as the temperature of the water they live in but a winged and feathered big carp would probably give a really good fight in the water (and in the air too!) See more on chicken in carp baits and their digestible protein later.
In regards to carp, chickens, humans and dinosaurs, maybe things evolved this way: The carp originally hatched amphibious mutant humans and chickens simultaneously (which kind of solves the chicken and the egg conundrum and probably explains why some dinosaurs and mammals went back into the water!) Then the chickens and humans discovered chocolate, coffee, vanilla, coke and chilli, and this mixture dwarfed the chickens and made them flightless, and made the humans high so they grew upright and tall and let us see the lions coming (and thus we became the king of the jungle.)
Then during a freak forest fire in the first rudimentary herb and spice garden (near a salt mine,) the humans discovered the recipe for Kentucky Fried Chicken which they were addicted to and so began to farm chickens (organically of course.) Then one day while the chickens were playing their favourite game of (you guessed it – chicken,) they hooked up a worm on a stick and a human found the stick, tripped up in a pond and hooked a carp that went for the worm – easy! Thus began traditional carp fishing without bows, arrows (or dynamite) approximately 450 million years ago give or take a week or two and thus the concept of fast food (though limited) it being fried, rare or live on a stick.
But now back to chickens; as you will see there is more to them in regards to carp and us that meets the eye! Science reckons (using the currently known genome,) that chicken DNA represents the closest match to the dinosaur Tyrannosaurus Rex. (Saying that T. Rex is the king dinosaur was a bit premature as in fact, he had bigger competition that looked very similar to him at different stages during dinosaur times so he was not the king at all. But science is not that exact really knowing only what it knows at any moment in time! Note; this applies to future carp bait developments too and the application of new technology and the potential to find new substances – maybe in the jungles of South America before they all get cleared to grow trendy soya beans, biofuels and coke!
Maybe chickens really are T.Rex in disguise and they are all just playing dumb to lull us humans into a false sense of security while we all laugh at all those why did the chicken cross the road jokes!
How about this; the majority of boilies and paste baits in carp fishing world-wide are based on the proteinous benefits and characteristics of common but humble chicken eggs! What does this tell you about the real power of chicken – because he gets everywhere! (Egg-bound boilies are the number one carp fishing bait right around the world!) Now chickens are produced to a great degree from special mutant stocks that make them lean mean thick legged big breasted roasting machines. Purely judging by the billions of chickens produced around the world every year, maybe T.Rex is on his way back and is intent on world domination again!
No kidding; did you know that probably the most viable successful sustainable (for now) protein products used in fish farming (instead of or to supplement fish meals, soya and maize protein,) is poultry protein meal. Chickens get everywhere; from China to South America in markets and fast food joints and get this; you are what you eat! (How things go full circle!) Added to this, chickens have indirectly created unrest, anarchy, mayhem, civil and world wars using their infamous battle cry of who are you calling chicken (humans love to mimic animals right!)
But seriously, you would think by now that the average intelligence male human being would have figured out that actually a chicken is not a chicken at all thus negating any suggestion of a man lacking testosterone fuelled abilities being a chicken. After all, chicken fights (or cock fights if you prefer,) have not
I wrote an article the other day about the Sockeye in Canada. Apparently no one knew why the red salmon did not appear as usual this fall.
However, information given to me after i wrote this article mentioned above, states something else, and should maybe be taken into consideration to a cause for this absence.
First a little background for you who did not read my previous article.
Millions of the red salmon called Sockeye Salmon has gone missing from its traveling through the river Fraser this year. The river is located in the province of British Columbia.
Department of fisheries states that around 6 to 10 millions of this species was expected on its travels into the river Fraser this month. A counting performed shows that only around 600.000 sockeye’s have taken the trip this year. This vanishing act will have enormous consequences for the fishing industry.
Local fishermen tells that the situation is chocking and a catastrophe and even says it is critical. CBC believes this will be the worst year in history for the catching of the pacific salmon.
Speculations around this disappearance has been done all from that the salmon has suffered from warmer sea waters, food shortage, increased amount of predators, salmon lice from some of the local fish-farms in the strait of Georgia.
Another possibility is that the fish is late this year, and will come at a later stage. The biologists do not believe this is a plausible cause at all.
The red salmon spends from one to four years out in the Pacific before it migrates back to the fresh waters to breed and die. This happens quite regularly in late summer times. No one has proper knowledge of what the fish spend its time on out in the ocean. This fact is rather astonishing, that the scientists at this time has no knowledge of what this red salmon spends its time on when its not in the rivers of Canada.
As a consequence of this situation, the Canadian authorities have cancelled the season for red salmon catching this year. Only the natives will be allowed to do the fishing for its own consumption only.
The red salmon count has dropped with almost 90 percent over the last twelve years in most of the Canadian lakes.
The three other species of salmon migrating through the rivers of Canada during the summer and fall season does not seem to be affected by the same amount of decrease as the red salmon has.
So what makes us draw some conclutions to why the Sockeye salmon is not showing up in the streams of Canada this year?
In January 2007 scientists gave an alert to the British Colombian authorities that sea lice could be the cause of the decline in the amount of salmon in Canadian rivers and lakes.
For the first time in Canada, scientists have used data from the world’s largest aquaculture company to draw a link between sea lice from Atlantic salmon on British Columbia fish farms and soaring infection rates in wild salmon migrating nearby.
This alert was published in Toronto Globe and Mail in 2007. So one can say that the solution to the absence of this delicate fish was found already back then, and the cause for the fish was infected was identified as well.
Then in February 2008 the Vancouver Sun published a study from a Government-funded group switches sides on risks of fish farms .
Pacific Salmon Forum at this time agreed sea lice are killing salmon. In a major blow to British Columbia’s salmon farming industry, the government-funded research group says it now accepts a recent scientific study that warns of mass extinctions of wild pink salmon on the central coast due to salmon farming.
In an uncirculated “communiqué” obtained by The Vancouver Sun, the Pacific Salmon Forum acknowledged that sea lice infestations contributed to plummeting pink salmon populations in the Broughton Archipelago from 2001-2005 – as noted in a recent article in Science, a leading international research journal.
The article written by Martin Krkosek, co-researcher Alexandra Morton and others, drew international attention. It warned that wild pink salmon could be extinct within four years on the B.C. central coast due to sea lice infestations arising from salmon farms in that area.
In 2007, a provincial legislature committee studying fish farming also recommended the industry switch from open-net sea pens to closed-containment pens that would prevent lice infestations at farms from spreading to wild fish migrating in the vicinity.
Both recommendations have been ignored by the province.
One can say, the signals were there, and causes were outlined, however no action was taken. Who is to blame on this issue, neglecting authorities not follow up with regulation and control to avoid a disaster on the coasts of Canada. It is therefore no mystery any longer to why the salmon does not appear as expected (by some). It is human interference with its effects on environment.
Human contribution to the global warming and pollution sets parameters for how our wild life develops and response accordingly.
There is no excuse to be ignorant anymore, there has to be a change in human behavior before it is too late. We have already too many signs in our food chain that we need to clean up our act and become more environmental concerned when making the economics of a project or industry. Industry should be responsible for paying the cost their activity has on the environment, and the consumer has to accept the price tag that comes along with it. But I guess this will be to much to ask for – at least today.