Grahame Morris MP

Member of Parliament for Easington

Why I Am Backing Greenpeace’s Campaign On Krill Fishing

March 20, 2018 Blog 0

A Greenpeace investigation has tracked the activities of the little-known krill fishing industry in the Antarctic over the last 5 years, to expose the risks of this fast-growing industry in one of the world’s most pristine regions. Krill trawling from boats from China, Norway and South Korea have all increased significantly in recent years.

Greenpeace’s new report reveals:

  • Intensive fishing taking place in the immediate vicinity of whale and penguin feeding grounds is creating direct competition for food between trawlers and antarctic wildlife
  • Vessels have anchored close to specially protected areas, despite the potential impact on wildlife and the seafloor
  • The potentially devastating impact of fuel spills, fires and groundings and from these vessels in pristine Antarctic waters
  • Activities suggesting risky fishing practices such as transhipment (transfer of catch) to huge reefers with long lists of  infringements, such as poor safety records and low standards in pollution prevention from both sewage and oil

Greenpeace is campaigning for governments to create a 1.8 million square kilometre Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary in the Weddell Sea this year. Greenpeace is also supporting proposals for protection of the Antarctic Peninsula and elsewhere, as part of a campaign to create a network of ocean sanctuaries covering at least 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030. As part of this, Greenpeace is calling on the krill fishing industry to immediately cease all of its fishing activities in areas under consideration for protection by the Antarctic Ocean Commission. They are also calling for all businesses buying krill-derived products to stop sourcing from vessels that continue to fish in these specific areas.

The UK Government has committed to advocate strongly for an Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary, but only visible support can hold the Government to account on its diplomacy. By fishing from the bottom of the food chain near the feeding grounds of whales and penguins, krill trawlers are inadvertently distorting the food chain. With climate change already impacting on krill numbers and the risk of greater pollution from fishing boats this could have a potentially devastating environmental impact.

Greenpeace’s campaign on krill fishing in the antarctic is essential if we are to protect one of the most pristine regions of the world.