WWF-Australia and the Norwegian krill fishing company Aker BioMarine have successfully concluded a three-year strategic partnership to set higher standards for sustainability in the Southern Ocean and to ensure better protection for fragile Antarctic ecosystems.
WWF partnership with Aker BioMarine (2007-2017)
One of the ways WWF works to protect the Antarctic
is by seeking to improve the way that the fishing industry operates, by providing advice on how fishers can reduce their environmental footprint; and by encouraging change and promoting innovative solutions across their industry.
From 2007 until 2017, WWF had a strategic partnership with Aker BioMarine
(Norway), a major fishing company that has significant interests in krill harvesting.
WWF chose to work with Aker BioMarine because the company committed to ensure that Antarctic krill is harvested according to the highest standards of sustainability, in a highly precautionary manner and in a way that minimises impact to fragile Antarctic ecosystems. Aker BioMarine could also influence the practices across the wider industry and lend their support to credible scientific research.
Throughout the partnership, WWF provided technical and strategic advice to Aker BioMarine on their sustainability policy and associated action plan.
WWF set a number of conservation challenges for Aker BioMarine and the outcomes included:
• The first krill fishing company to earn independent certification by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), as well as major investment to develop continuous harvesting technology, significantly reducing bycatch.
• Establishing a research fund for the Southern Ocean, the Antarctic Wildlife Research Fund (AWR), to facilitate and promote research on the Antarctic ecosystem. Together with founding partners including the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition (ASOC) and WWF-Norway, the aim is to obtain high-quality scientific information that can help increase understanding about krill, krill predators, and the ecosystem to assist in the long-term management of the fishery.
• Aker BioMarine has established a krill industry association ARK (Association of Responsible Krill harvesting companies) to share information, create dialogue and ‘lift the bar’ of the industry to create an expectation and standard for all krill fishing companies, such as encouraging krill fishing operators to embrace sustainable practices and MSC certification.
WWF-Australia and Aker BioMarine successfully concluded its formal partnership on January 1, 2018.
WWF will continue to seek to collaborate with Aker BioMarine and other parties where this can advance conservation in Antarctica.