The ultimate in fishing down the food chain

Posted by Andrew Brenner:   We’ve talked about the phenomenon of fishing down the food chain in class.   Apparently, it’s not stopping with sardines.   There has recently been increasing development in fisheries for Arctic and Antarctic krill, the tiny shrimplike organisms which most baleen whales depend on for food, even in Alaska( recent article about recent research on bowhead whales off Barrow and the krill they consume: https://www.capitalcityweekly.com/stories/092910/out_713459021.shtml).   Human harvest of krill has been increasing largely as it is increasingly marketed as a healthier and more ecologically sustainable alternative to fish oil (https://ezinearticles.com/?A-Look-at-the-Benefits-of-Arctic-Krill-Oil&id=4551669).   These new levels of harvest have resulted in scientists asking how sustainable krill fisheries really are under high levels of harvest (https://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/mar/23/fishing.food).   Also, recent research indicates that krill may be particularly vulnerable to increased ocean acidification resulting from high levels of anthropogenic  CO2 (https://www.fis.com/fis/worldnews/worldnews.asp?l=e&country=0&special=&monthyear=&day=&id=38786&ndb=1&df=0).   With people depending on whales in Alaska for their food and cultural value, and potential threats to krill from multiple directions, it’s probably worth our time to examine the potential future effects of this example of fishing down the food chain on humans as well as on marine ecosystems.   Fish eat krill too.



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