NOAA Bans Commercial Harvesting Of Krill; 'The Foundation For A Healthy Marine Ecosystem'
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) today published a final rule in the Federal Register prohibiting the harvesting of krill in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) off the coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington. The rule goes into effect on August 12, 2009. Krill are a small shrimp-like crustacean and a key source of nutrition in the marine food web.
"Krill are the foundation for a healthy marine ecosystem," said Mark Helvey, NOAA's Fisheries Service Southwest Assistant Regional Administrator for Sustainable Fisheries. "Protecting this vital food resource will help protect and maintain marine resources and put federal regulations in line with West-Coast states."
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Amendment 12 adds all species of krill under a new category, "prohibited harvest species." This new group may not be caught or taken by any fishery or gear type within the EEZ.
Krill are important because they convert microscopic phytoplankton
into a food source for numerous other species and are a principal food source for many species of fish, seabirds and marine mammals
. Some of the species that depend on krill as prey are listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act, and many others are important as target species for commercial and recreational fisheries on the west coast.