The health of the oceans depends on a complex food web which ultimate depends on the sun providing energy for photosynthesis by tiny plants called phytoplankton which, in turn, serve as food for equally tiny little sea animals called zooplankton. They are feed for larger zooplankters one of which is the wildly prolific and abundant Krill that is vital to larger fish, birds, marine mammals and ultimately man. Unfortunately, krill have become targeted as a commercial species. Large-scale fishing developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and now occurs only in Antarctic waters and in the seas around Japan. In 1993, two events caused a decline in krill fishing: Russia exited the industry; and the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) defined maximum catch quotas for a sustainable exploitation of Antarctic krill. After an October 2011 review, the Commission decided not to change the quota.
The annual Antarctic catch stabilized at around 100,000 tonnes, which is roughly one fiftieth of the CCAMLR catch quota. The main limiting factor was probably high costs along with political and legal issues. The Japanese fishery saturated at some 70,000 tonnes.
As of 2003 experimental small-scale harvesting was being carried out in other areas, for example, fishing for Euphausia pacifica off British Columbia and harvesting Meganyctiphanes norvegica, Thysanoessa raschii and Thysanoessa inermis in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. These experimental operations produce only a few hundred tonnes of krill per year, indicating that any large-scale harvesting operations in these areas are unlikely due to opposition from local fishing industries and conservation groups. (Based on Wikipedia text)
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