In certifying both companies FOS said they met fishery stewardship criteria including:
- Krill stock is not overfished
- Fishery meets management measures
- No endangered species by-catch
- No adverse impact on ecosystem or seabed
- Social accountability
- Gradual reduction of carbon footprint
The certification was achieved after FOS spent time on the vessels that provide krill (Euphausia Superba) to the two companies and means their products can carry the FOS logo.
Wael Massrieh, Neptune scientific affairs vice president told us at Vitafoods Europe last week that the certification recognised its commitment to sustainability in the Antarctic fishery and took more than a year to achieve.
“We’re happy that there are options available that allow us to ensure that the fisheries and the environmental and ecological responsibility is being taken care of,” Massrieh said.
“Our competitor, Aker BioMarine, has done a really good job of spreading the message about the importance of sustainable fisheries and so we are proud to have achieved this certification.”
Aker has had its own krill fishing operations certified by the Marine Stewardship Council and World Wildlife Fund. FOS has approved 30 fisheries and rejected eight.
Even T Remøy, sales and marketing director at Olympic Seafoods-owned Rimfrost said: “We are careful about not damaging the krill stocks and collect only a very small proportion of the allowed catches. Everything we do is constantly monitored and tightly controlled by different authorities, including the Friend of the Sea.”
By-catches, carbon footprints
Massrieh said the inspection of its Antarctic fishing activity was meticulous.
“For instance we had to show the auditors that there is a net system in place that would allow any by-catch to escape. And of course we had to make all of our catch data available and make catch forecasts that were used to determine commitments to reducing carbon footprints.”
Massrieh said it was understandable environmental concerns were heightened around a fragile ecosystem like the Antarctic.
“I understand where they are coming from and it is necessary that that kind of monitoring goes on but sometimes it is exaggerated and it seems a lot of the problems that stem from some fish fisheries leak through to krill.”
The fishery is maintained by CCAMLR (Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources) and the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) has backed its sustainability.
In 2010, about 210,000 tonnes of krill were caught – 34% of a trigger limit of 620,000t – a level established to minimise environmental risk, although BAS has called for ongoing spatial, population, environmental and harvesting research.
US healthy foods retailer, Whole Foods, cited sustainability concerns when it withdraw krill products from its shelves in 2010, although it has subsequently acknowledged that the fishery has won certifications, and says it is reviewing sustainability across all marine ingredients.
Rimfrost launched its krill collection of powders, meals and oils at Vitafoods. It claimed on-the-spot harvesting on Olympic’s boat ‘Juvel’ could deliver high-purity oils that were price-competitive with other offerings on the market.