Penguins benefit from extended maritime zone

Gentoo penguins are benefiting from a newly enlarged no-fishing zone (known as a No-Take Zone NTZ) around the sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia following British Antarctic Survey (BAS) tracking research commissioned by ...

Weddell Sea: Whale song reveals behavioral patterns

Until recently, what we knew about the lives of baleen whales in the Southern Ocean was chiefly based on research conducted during the Antarctic summer. The reason: in the winter, there were virtually no biologists on site ...

Molting krill provide a highway for ocean carbon storage

This study provides the first estimate of how much carbon large swarms of Antarctic krill can draw down and store through the molting process. The efficiency of this process has an important influence on our global climate.

The future of krill: Experts recommend new management strategies

Krill is rapidly gaining popularity. The small shrimp-like organism from the Antarctic is used as fish food in aquaculture and increasingly in dietary supplements and healing ointments. Although the krill catch is regulated, ...

Antarctic krill take refuge from climate change

New research shows that Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba), a key link in the Southern Ocean food web, have refuges from the rapid climatic warming and ice loss that has degraded part of its habitat. The study is published ...

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Krill is the common name given to the order Euphausiacea of shrimp-like marine crustaceans. Also known as euphausiids, these small invertebrates are found in all oceans of the world. The common name krill comes from the Norwegian word krill, meaning "young fry of fish", which is also often attributed to other species of fish.

Krill are considered an important trophic level connection—near the bottom of the food chain—because they feed on phytoplankton and to a lesser extent zooplankton, converting these into a form suitable for many larger animals for whom krill makes up the largest part of their diet. In the Southern Ocean, one species, the Antarctic krill, Euphausia superba, makes up an estimated biomass of over 500,000,000 tonnes (490,000,000 long tons; 550,000,000 short tons), roughly twice that of humans. Of this, over half is eaten by whales, seals, penguins, squid and fish each year, and is replaced by growth and reproduction. Most krill species display large daily vertical migrations, thus providing food for predators near the surface at night and in deeper waters during the day.

Commercial fishing of krill is done in the Southern Ocean and in the waters around Japan. The total global harvest amounts to 150,000–200,000 tonnes (150,000–200,000 long tons; 170,000–220,000 short tons) annually, most of this from the Scotia Sea. Most of the krill catch is used for aquaculture and aquarium feeds, as bait in sport fishing, or in the pharmaceutical industry. In Japan and Russia, krill is also used for human consumption and is known as okiami (オキアミ?) in Japan.

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