June 12, 2012
OLSO, NorwayKrill's biotic resource use (BRU) is much lower than common fish sources, according to a recent study by Aker BioMarine Antarctic that measured the marine footprint of Antarctic krill via BRU comparing different sources of omega-3s. The study, "Live Cycle Environmental Impacts of Three Products Derived from Wild-Caught Antarctic Krill (Euphausia sperba)" is published in Environmental Science and Technology (Environ. Sci. Technol., 2012 April 5).
The research used life cycle assessment to evaluate the environmental performance of krill harvesting and processing activities. Impacts included ozone depleting, acidifying, greenhouse gas emissions, total energy use and living resource inputs.
Using BRU, the marine footprint of different sources of omega-3's can be compared, and due to krill's low position in the food chain, total BRU is much lower than what is common in omega-3 production from most fish sources.
"Biotic resource use was significantly lower than most other marine omega-3 sources as a result of krill's low position in the food chain, while the carbon footprint was higher, though still relatively low when compared to many high-value commercial species such as cod, tuna or lobster," said Rob Parker, the study's lead author.
This study is the second from the authors. The first, published in the journal Ecological Indicators, assessed only the biotic component of Aker BioMarine's ecological footprint. While a vast amount of uncertainty and variability is inherent in marine footprints, krill was generally found to have a footprint similar to that of menhaden and markedly lower than species such as anchovy, herring and blue whiting as a result of its low trophic level.
Aker Biomarine bought its Antarctic krill vessel last year from Krillsea Group AS to help meet growing demands for krill ingredients.
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