Save the Tiny Shrimp to Save the Whales

Beating pleopods of a swimming Antarctic krill

Image via Wikipedia

One of my new favorite web sites, 10,000 birds, recently posted about a photo mosaic put together by the Antarctic Krill Conservation Project, known as Krill Count. You can add your photo to the mosaic — and WordPress.com users can sign up easily via their Gravatars — to show support for smart global restrictions on harvesting and managing krill.

You may be thinking wtf is krill? Here’s a quick lesson, courtesy of Krill Count:

Antarctic krill are tiny, little-known crustaceans that serve as the “bread and butter” for hundreds of species. For many marine mammals and seabirds, from the blue whale to the albatross, krill are by far the most important food in their diet.

Encompassing more than 80 species of open-ocean creatures scientifically classified as Euphausiids, Antarctic krill are about 2 ½ inches long (6 centimeters) and weigh 0.07 ounces or roughly two grams. Yet these little creatures are distinctive on several scores. Krill are one of the world’s most abundant multi-celled animals, producers of the most powerful enzymes yet discovered to break down proteins, and collectively thought to be one of the largest aggregations of marine life on the planet.

In the water, krill have an exotic appearance, with a translucent, reddish shell and large black eyes. Krill spend most of their 5-7 year life span in huge schools or “swarms,” living in concentrations so dense and vast that they cover kilometers in every direction with as many as 30,000 krill per cubic meter. Estimates of the total weight of Antarctic krill range from 50 to 500 million metric tonnes.

In other words, krill is the living breadbasket of the ocean, helping support many marine species from penguins to whales. These tiny shrimp are under threat. If they go, our whole ocean ecosystem goes. And that’s something I can’t live with.

While adding my photo probably has very little impact on the pending talks, it at least makes me feel a little bit better about trying.

3 thoughts on “Save the Tiny Shrimp to Save the Whales

  1. doranyc says:

    And have you seen the ads for krill oil – pimping itself a better source for Omega 3 than fish oil? Um yeah, we have NO business using krill for our own health benefits at this point. Can you imagine how many krill go into making just one pill? Tsk tsk tsk.

  2. Betty Victory says:

    Guys, you need to catch me up on this. on the Dr. Oz Show –he had someone on that said you could get “better” Omega 3 by taking Krill oil. It seems many people nasty burping when they take fish oil caps, but don’t have that problem when they take Krill oil caps. So girls you have me in a quandry. I was thinking of taking/promoting (in a small way to my friends) their use. Now, I don’t think so………. Now , I think they need to come up with “better” fish oil caps that don’t have the Burp effect. I would gladly add my photo to help save the Krill. I will do that, and remind me Joy, when i get back my energy.

    By the way, Adora and Joy–most everything else is VERY good on The Dr. Oz Show. I recommend that you get a DVR and record him EVERY day.
    Dr. Oz is an amazing man who tries to put some medical,psychological,dietary, or even sexual problems before his audience to learn about each and every day. He uses lots of “simple”,”obvious” visual learning tools to get his audience hooked. Then goes on, very slowly, to much more complex explanations

  3. Toni says:

    I’ve researched about the decreasing population of krill and though harvesting of krill may be a contributor, it’s just minor. the real culprit is the water temperature change (i think it went up 1 degree celsius) that melted the ice (the food of krill is plankton attached to the ice). I still do believe in krill oil. here’s a good video about its advantages : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lj-ZnG3NoZY i think it’s wise though that if ever you’re getting supplements, choose the one that follows the strict rules of harvesting krill.

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