The health of the Southern Ocean ecosystems depends heavily on healthy krill populations. While still exceptionally abundant, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Antarctic krill populations have dropped an estimated 80 percent since the 1970s. Scientists have not determined the exact reason, but the loss of sea ice is thought to be a major factor.

The increase in fishing is largely because of the increase in demand for krill oil. Scientists are also concerned about what the combination of fishing and climate change (including ocean acidification) means for Antarctic krill and, in turn, for the entire Antarctic marine ecosystem. We completely understand these concerns and share in them.