Greenpeace protesters demonstrated yesterday morning outside government offices, demanding protection for krill to be written into local law. Krill are small, shrimp-like creatures that live in the open seas. According to Greenpeace, nearly all Antarctic marine life, from the biggest whales to the smallest penguins, relies on the krill for survival.
Due to climate change and overfishing, the decline of krill may have a huge impact on Antarctic marine life, according to the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources. This is because krill is the main food of many marine animals, and if there aren’t enough krill to go around, the other marine animals will start to die out as well.
Krill is used for products such as omega-3 fish oil and health supplements, which can still be easily found in stores like Mannings and HKTV mall. The protesters, who were dressed up as penguins, want the government to speed up the legislation process and investigate “the import and export … of krill products”.
At the moment, the government is working on legislation for an Antarctic fish called a toothfish. There is no similar law to protect krill, which is also used as food for farmed fish, as well as an ingredient in pet food.
A spokesperson for Greenpeace said the protest was an opportunity to shine a light on the krill industry and that the Antarctic should be “cherished and protected, not exploited for profit”.
Greenpeace is also behind a plan to create a 1.8 million sq km ocean sanctuary in the Antarctic that will ban krill fishing, among other things. It will be voted on by a council of Antarctic nations in October.