No More Krill Burgers On The Grill: Harvest Banned Off US Pacific Coast

blue whale poop krill diet photo

"Blue whale 'poop'. The red coloration a result of its krill diet." Image credit: H. Ryono, Aquarium of the Pacific

Krill are increasingly harvested from the seas to be processed into food supplements for fish, and even for cattle feed! Hence, the post headline suggesting that, indirectly, your burger beef was possibly raised on krill. Having extirpated the cod, tuna, swordfish, and many of the salmons, krill harvesting simply moves the base of the human food chain from land, back to the sea. That puts we humans in the position of competing directly with whales and all the other plankton grazers, even endangered species. NOAA, the US agency with oversight on the US coastal zone, recognizes the ecological risk and has banned commercial krill harvesting in it.Science Daily has the coverage.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has published a final rule in the Federal Register prohibiting the harvesting of krill in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) off the coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington.
Here's the money quote.
While the States of California, Oregon and Washington currently have regulations prohibiting the harvesting of krill within three miles of their coastlines, there was no similar federal restriction within the three to 200-mile confines of the EEZ.
Your probably won't see Greenpeace or Sea Shepard ships challenging the krill harvesters because it's not as dramatic a visual. Truth be told, over harvesting krill is no less fatal to whales than Japanese or Norwegian harpoons.

Another less talked-about reason to leave all krill unharvested be is that the antarctic species, in particular, serve as a critical link for ocean carbon sequestration. See "Antarctic Krill Provide Carbon Sink In Southern Ocean," also in Science Daily.

Good job NOAA.

More krill posts are here - helpful for understanding the global context of this issue.
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