Krill fishing poses serious threat to Antarctic ecosystem, report warns

Greenpeace finds industrial fishing taking place in the feeding grounds of whales and penguins, with vessels involved in oil spills and accidents

Industrial fishing for krill in the pristine waters around Antarctica is threatening the future of one of the worlds last great wildernesses, according to a new report.

The study by Greenpeace analysed the movements of krill fishing vessels in the region and found they were increasingly operating in the immediate vicinity of penguin colonies and whale feeding grounds.

It also highlights incidents of fishing boats being involved in groundings, oil spills and accidents, which it said posed a serious threat to the Antarctic ecosystem.

The report, published on Tuesday, comes amid growing concern about the impact of fishing and climate change on the Antarctic. A global campaign has been launched to create a network of ocean sanctuaries to protect the seas in the region and Greenpeace is calling for an immediate halt to fishing in areas being considered for sanctuary status.

Frida Bengtsson, from Greenpeaces Protect the Antarctic campaign, said: If the krill industry wants to show its a responsible player, then it should be voluntarily getting out of any area which is being proposed as an ocean sanctuary, and should instead be backing the protection of these huge swaths of the Antarctic.

Last month a study found a combination of climate change and industrial-scale fishing is hitting the krill population, with a potentially disastrous impact on larger predators.

Krill
Krill fishing in the vicinity of Trinity Island. Photograph: Daniel Beltr/Greenpeace

The study warned that the penguin population could drop by almost one-third by the end of the century due to changes in krill biomass.

Krill are a key part of the delicate Antarctic food chain. They feed on marine algae and are a key source of food for whales, penguins and seals. They are also important in removing the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by eating carbon-rich food near the surface and excreting it when they sink to lower, colder water.

There is a growing global demand for krill-based health products which are claimed to help with a range of ailments from heart disease to high blood pressure, strokes and depression.

A recent analysis of the global krill industry predicted it was on course to grow 12% a year over the next three years.

Krill populations have declined by 80% since the 1970s. Global warming has been blamed partly because the ice that is home to the algae and plankton on which krill feed is retreating.

However, campaigners say recent developments in fishing technology are exacerbating the problem.

Tuesdays report analysed the krill fleets mandatory automatic identification systems [AIS] which shows the trawlers routes and when they were at fishing speed. In doing so researchers say they were able to get a record of industrial fishing in the feeding grounds of whales and penguins.

A global campaign has been launched to turn a huge tract of Antarctic seas into ocean sanctuaries, protecting wildlife and banning all fishing.

One was created in the Ross Sea in 2016, another 1.8m sq km reserve is being proposed in a vast area of the Weddell Sea, and a third sanctuary is under consideration in the area west of the Antarctic peninsula a key krill fishing area.

The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), whose members include 24 national governments and the EU, manage the seas around Antarctica. It will decide on the Weddell Sea sanctuary proposal at a conference in Australia in October, although a decision on the peninsula sanctuary is not expected until later.

Humpback
Humpback Whales Feeding in Paradise Bay, Antarctic Peninsula. Photograph: Christian slund/Christian slund / Greenpeace

Keith Reid, a science manager at CCAMLR said the organisation sought a balance between protection, conservation and sustainable fishing in the Southern Ocean.

He said although more fishing was taking place nearer penguin colonies it was often happening later in the season when these colonies were empty.

He added: The creation of the a system of marine protected areas is a key part of ongoing scientific and policy discussions in CCAMLR.

Cilia Holmes, sustainability director at Aker BioMarines, one of the leading krill fishing companies based in Norway, said they were looking forward to working with Greenpeace and other environmental groups to ensure the region was protected.

Our long-term operation in the region depends on a healthy and thriving Antarctic marine ecosystem, which is why we have always had an open dialogue with the environmental NGOs, and especially WWF.

We strongly intend to continue this dialogue, including [with] Greenpeace, to discuss improvements based on the latest scientific data. We are not the ones to decide on establishment of marine protected areas, but we hope to contribute positively with our knowledge and experience.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/mar/13/krill-fishing-poses-serious-threat-to-antarctic-ecosystem-report-warns

Decline in krill threatens Antarctic wildlife, from whales to penguins

Climate change and industrial-scale fishing is impacting the krill population with a potentially disastrous impact on larger predators, say scientists

Decline in krill threatens Antarctic wildlife, from whales to penguins

Climate change and industrial-scale fishing is impacting the krill population with a potentially disastrous impact on larger predators, say scientists

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/feb/14/decline-in-krill-threatens-antarctic-wildlife-from-whales-to-penguins

Animal agriculture is choking the Earth and making us sick. We must act now | James Cameron and Suzy Amis Cameron

Film-maker James Cameron and environmentalist Suzy Amis Cameron writes that to preserve Americas majestic national parks, clean air and water for future generations leaders must be pressed to address foods environmental impact

Our collective minds are stuck on this idea that talking about foods environmental impact risks taking something very intimate away from us. In fact its just the opposite. Reconsidering how we eat offers us hope, and empowers us with choice over what our future planet will look like. And we can ask our local leaders from city mayors to school district boards to hospital management to help, by widening our food options.

On Monday and Tuesday, the city of Chicago is hosting a summit for the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy to discuss climate solutions cities can undertake. Strategies to address and lower foods impact should be front and center.

Animal agriculture is choking the Earth, and the longer we turn a blind eye, the more we limit our ability to nourish ourselves, protect waterways and habitats, and pursue other uses of our precious natural resources. Raising livestock for meat, eggs and milk generates 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions, the second highest source of emissions and greater than all transportation combined. It also uses about 70% of agricultural land, and is one of theleading causes of deforestation, biodiversity loss, and water pollution.

On top of this, eating too much meat and dairy is making us sick, greatlyincreasing our risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, several major cancers (including breast, liver and prostate) and obesity. Diets optimal for human health vary, according to David Katz, of the Yale University Prevention Research Center, but all of them are made up mostly of whole, wholesome plant foods.

So what gives? Why cant we see the forest for the bacon? The truth can be hard to swallow: that we simply need less meat and dairy and more plant-based options in our food system if were to reach our climate goals.

Still
The Avatar movie set had plant-based menus. Photograph: 20th Century Fox/Everett/Rex Features

This can start with individual action. Five years ago, our family felt hopeless about climate change, and helpless to make meaningful change. But when we connected the dots on animal agricultures impact on the environment, coupled with the truth about nutrition, we took heart because it gave us something we could actually do.

To create change at the scale needed, this will take more than individual choice we need to get climate leaders on board about the impact of food. Cities and counties have used their buying power to transition fleets from diesel to electric, and we need to do the same with how we purchase food. We have done this in our own community, moving the lunch program of Muse School, in Calabasas, California, and the Avatar movie set to plant-based menus. Scaling up initiatives like these can make a big difference: if the US reduced meat consumption by 50%, its the equivalent of taking 26 million cars off the road. We think thats damn hopeful.

Decision-makers on all levels can make it easier for us to eat better, by expanding access to food options that are good for our health, affordable, and climate-friendly. Nationwide, cities and school districts have adopted food purchasing policies that include environment, health and fair labor standards. The city of Chicago is a recent adopter of this Good Food Purchasing Program, and so the solutions-focus of the summit is the perfect place to discuss how food can move us toward climate goals. In the same breath that we discuss fossil fuels, we should be talking animal ag, or were missing a big part of the problem and a big part of the solution.

Yes, food is inherently personal. Its the cornerstone of holidays, it fuels high school athletes and long workdays, and it nourishes nursing mothers and growing children. And yes, Americans love meat and cheese. But more than that, we love our majestic national parks, family beach vacations and clean air and water for our children and grandchildren.

As individuals, we can make choices on how to better nourish our families, and as citizens, we can encourage local leaders to make choices that will allow us to enjoy our land and natural resources now and in the future.

James Cameron is a film-maker and deep-sea explorer. Suzy Amis Cameron is a founder of Muse School and Plant Power Task Force.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/dec/04/animal-agriculture-choking-earth-making-sick-climate-food-environmental-impact-james-cameron-suzy-amis-cameron