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Aker Biomarine Apply for MSC Certification

NORWAY - Aker BioMarine has successfully completed a pre-assessment for Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) accreditation of its Antarctic krill fishing operations.

The company will now proceed to a full MSC assessment.“Aker BioMarine sells products with full traceability through the value chain. For us, it is of paramount importance to harvest krill in a responsible and sustainable way. We expect to harvest 55,000 tons next year and will never become a big player in terms of volume. It is all about using state-of-the-art technology to maximize the value of the biomass we harvest,” says Kjell Inge Røkke, CEO of Aker BioMarine.

“Certification from a reputable institution such as the Marine Stewardship Council would strengthen our position as a world-leading ingredients company and fisheries operator,” says Mr Røkke.

The MSC is an independent, global, non-profit organisation whose leading fishery certification and eco-label programme allows well managed and sustainable fisheries to be independently assessed to demonstrate their sustainability. Successful certification would allow Aker BioMarine products to carry the MSC eco-label that provides consumers with a guarantee of sustainability, effective fisheries management, as well as full traceability through the chain of custody. The MSC certification focuses on the health of the stock and how it is managed, in addition to assessing the effect of the fishery on the wider ecosystem. This includes a range of marine mammals, birds and fish.

Krill is the cornerstone species in the Antarctic oceans and Aker BioMarine is committed to sustainable harvesting of this valuable resource. The company currently has independent observers on the vessels at all times to monitor and report the fishing operations. Specialised harvesting equipment is used to avoid any by-catch of marine mammals or birds. Satellite tracking systems are installed on the Aker BioMarine vessels to constantly record duration and location in the fishery. Further work is being conducted with scientific groups to assess and reduce marine larvae by-catch during fishing operations.

All fishing operations in Antarctica are managed under The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR). CCAMLR operates a stringent control on the krill fishery and is recognised as one of the most professional management systems in the world. Total allowable catch is set at a precautionary level to avoid any impact on predator populations. The krill fishery has been operating successfully in the Antarctic since the 1970s and is currently removing a modest 150,000 tonnes per year, well below the total allowable catch of 4 million tonnes. The total biomass of krill is estimated between 150 and 500 million tonnes, one of the largest resources in the world’s oceans.

Aker BioMarine says it recognises the need for increased scientific understanding of krill; seasonal distribution, annual variations, predator interaction and the effects of climate change. The company will contribute to further research by offering its vessels as platforms for leading scientific institutions.

Ellen Hardy

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