Australian health company invites Sea Shepherd for krill product talks
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Australian health company invites Sea Shepherd for krill product talks

Blackmores, Australia’s leading health brand, summoned the Sea Shepherd Australia for a meeting in response to the conservation group’s sudden attack on the company’s krill oil products.

The Sea Shepherd’s new campaign, Operation Krill, targets Blackmores’ ‘EcoKrill’, an omega-3 supplement pills and its impact on whales in the Antarctic.

The group launched the campaign to “protect a species of fundamental importance to the Antarctic marine ecosystem: the Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba).“

Christine Holgate, Blackmores CEO, wrote Captain Jeff Hansen shortly saying she wants to get things straight by setting a meeting as soon as possible.

Holgate insisted the company and Sea Sheperd share a common goal: protection of the environment. She said Blackmores worked very closely with several organisations including World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), and the Antarctic Wildlife Research Fund (AWRF).

She clarified that Blackmores’ sources only MSC certified krill, and that the Southern Ocean MSC krill is harvested under the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR ) governance framework.

EcoKrill has been scrutinised by the additional MSC accreditation process, to confirm that krill is sourced in a sustainable way, Holgate continued.

We have also gone to the lengths of having our entire supply chain audited and certified by MSC to ensure complete traceability and integrity of that supply chain. WWF considers MSC to be the most credible certification recognising sustainable fisheries management.

Read full text of letter HERE

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Krill is a major food source for many marine species, including, whales, dolphins, penguins, and other fishes.

Blackmores and WWF partnership

In 2012, Blackmores and the WWF joined hands for Sustainable Fish Oils Partnership which outlined a three-year engagement to help Blackmores achieve the highest possible standard for sustainable fish oils by 2015. The agreement called for Blackmores to commit to a fulfilling a vision of healthy oceans, healthy communities, and sustainable business practices.

Blackmores also signed the WWF Sustainable Seafood Charter., a commitment to ensure a sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, and to safeguard marine’s ecosystems to benefit people who are dependent on them.

The partnership coincided with the launch of Blackmores EcoKrill.

Why is Sea Shepherd against Blackmores EcoKrill?

Blackmores EcoKrill 1500mg is very popular, capturing 20 percent of  the Australian market that need omega-3 fatty acids.

Health organisations admit krill oil is quickly replacing fish oil and other omega-3 supplements as the premium source of quality omega-3 fatty acids.  Krill has many health benefits including improving heart and cardiovascular health, protect against harmful inflammation, improve mental function, and many more.

But the recognition of krill as a premium source of quality omega-3 fatty acid concerns marine conservation groups that are wary of overfishing.

The Sea Shepherd argues that in Australia alone, two out of every three people regularly use a supplement of some kind. This indicates a rapid growth in krill oil consumption which has shown triple digit sales growth since 2012, making Australia the second biggest krill market in the world.

The biggest argument lies in the allegation that the main ingredient of the EcoKrill “is provided by factory ships, which vacuum huge quantities of krill from the depths of the pristine Antarctic Ocean, removing a vital food source for whales.”

The sharp rise in demand for krill underscores that stocks are already being depleted, the Sea Shepherd said. This affects the food supply in the entire Antarctic ecosystem, including penguins, birds, whales, and fish, it said.

Blackmores are threatening whales by literally taking the food right out of their mouths. Don’t be fooled by the name: Blackmores’ EcoKrill is about as damaging to the Antarctic ecosystem as it gets…We must stop the devastation being wrought at the bottom of the food chain or face severe consequences, including a dramatic collapse in fish populations, penguin numbers and dire impacts on whales.

The Sea Shepherd is calling for Blackmores to protect the Antarctic krill and embrace sustainable alternatives to omega-3 pills.  In addition to overfishing, climate change is already crashing krill populations that no amount of krill fishing can be sustainable. Hansen challenged Blackmores to focus on better alternatives for omega 3 that do not devastate pristine ecosystems and threaten the great whales of the Southern Ocean.

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Captain Jeff Hansen and Bob Brown (Photo: Supplied)

Holgate told Hansen that some of the figures on the krill population that have been posted by members of the Sea Shepherd “are in contrast to those provided by the governing authorities.”

She urged Hansen to meet with Blackmores’ team to consider the information that has been provided and to investigate further “to make sure we fully understand the picture on krill harvesting.”

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