Norway-based Aker BioMarine has gained Marine Stewardship Council accreditation for its krill fisheries — just weeks after a major US retailer said it would stop stocking products made from the Omega 3-rich ingredient over sustainability concerns.
In May it emerged that Whole Foods Market had decided to pull supplements containing krill oil, telling customers via in-store notices: "Krill are an important source of food for marine animals including penguins, seals and whales in the Antarctic. Declines of some predator populations in the areas where the krill fishery operates suggest that fishery management needs to better understand how to evaluate the prey requirements of other marine species in order to set sustainable catch levels for krill." Shoppers were advised instead to buy fish oil or astaxanthin supplements.
But news that Aker BioMarine has received MSC approval for its activities has provided a welcome boost to the krill sector, which has become a rising star of the Omega 3 oils category in recent years. Rich in Omega-3 phospholipids and the antioxidant astaxanthin, krill oil is said to be highly bio-available when consumed.
Aker BioMarine CEO Hallvard Muri commented: "Since its inception, Aker BioMarine has proactively adopted the highest standards in environmentally sustainable management of krill resources to ensure that we maintain the health of our ecosystem and krill populations. This certification from MSC is a hallmark for our customers who can purchase our products with confidence, knowing that our Omega-3-rich krill oil was sustainably harvested and that their choices help protect the environment."
Aker BioMarine, which markets krill oil ingredients under the Superba brand, was the first and currently only participant in the krill fishery to have received the MSC certification, Muri added.
The company also received backing from conservation group WWF. Nina Jensen, conservation director at WWF Norway, said: "Aker BioMarine is the only operator in the krill fishery doing all the right things — 100% observer coverage, vessel monitoring system, real-time reporting procedures, science and research contributions by allowing onboard scientists at no cost, and economic participation in establishing a science fund."