Although the 2012 krill catch declined for the second year in a row, according to the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), Aker BioMarine Antarctic secured the largest share, putting it in an ideal supply position for 2013 and beyond.
This season's total catch was about 157,000 metric tons, which is only 25 percent of the cautionary trigger level of 620,000 tons. The quota for krill harvesting in area 48, the only area krill are harvested around Antarctica, remains at 5,600,000 metric tons annually. Last year the total catch was about 178,000 tons, while 2010's catch was around 210,000 tons. Norway's share of the 2012 catch was about 101,000 tons, of which Aker took the large majority.
While healthy, the growth of the krill fishery is not as rampant as some pundits claim. Still, Aker has secured its harvest to more than adequately address its customers' needs in the human health sector for 2013 forward, and the company continues to actively support research on the health of the krill biomass in the Antarctic ecosystem.
"As these numbers show, it is very difficult to harvest krill and only those companies doing the right thing will succeed. This means funding significant research on the biomass and continuing to carefully track the catch and report back to CCAMLR," said Matts Johansen, COO, Aker BioMarine. "We also continue to make important investments in our vessels and new technology."
Aker BioMarine is one of few krill ingredient companies that is primary in its supply. Aker's proprietary Eco-Harvesting technology and on-board processing result in the unique composition of Superba Krill, which provides full traceability from sea to shelf. Aker's fisheries have also been granted Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification, an exclusive distinction that no other krill fishery has earned.
Krill is a more direct source of omega-3s vs. other sources where the omega-3s have to travel up the food chain (i.e., fish). Also, the body better utilizes krill omega-3s because they are bound to phospholipids, which is unique among marine species.
Krill supplements overall grew more than 70 percent in sales last year. Aker believes this is because krill specifically caters to consumers looking for alternatives to existing omega-3 sources. In fact, a consumer study sponsored by Aker showed that nearly 4 out of 10 supplement users are looking for an omega-3 source other than fish oil. These particular consumers don't tolerate fish oil well, citing bad taste and/or aftertaste and fishy burps. With krill, however, consumers get the powerful benefits of a phospholipid omega-3 source and a positive user experience to go with it.