Originally published February 28 2009
Questioning Krill Harvesting: Why Krill Oil Isn't an Eco-Friendly or Sustainable Source of Marine Omega-3 Oils
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, NaturalNews Editor
(NaturalNews) The success of Moxxor and its green-lipped mussel oil has been nothing short of phenomenal. People across the country and around the world are using the product and experiencing truly impressive results from the health benefits provided by this unique marine omega-3 oil. As a result, Moxxor has quickly grown to an organization of 5,000 people in just a few months.
Not surprisingly, this success attracted the criticism of sellers of competing products such as krill oil and fish oil. As green-lipped mussel oil sales increased, sales of competing products went down, and to defend their territory, some promoters of competing products decided to attack NaturalNews for asking important questions about the eco-sustainability of krill oil harvesting.
What's important for you, the NaturalNews readers, to understand is that krill oil is very cheap to harvest. It's cheap because it is plundered out of the ocean in a way that I believe to be ecologically irresponsible and completely insensitive to the marine mammals that depend on krill as their food source. Rather than responsibly using aquaculture farms where nothing is taken away from the ocean ecosystem, krill oil is removed from the open ocean where whales and other marine mammals feed.
Yes, there is a lot of total krill in the ocean, but what concerns marine biologists is the harvesting of krill concentrations near the feeding grounds of whales and other marine mammals. With many of these marine species already threatened and stressed by climate change, their feeding grounds are being eroded or altered in a way that poses a very real danger to the sustainability of local marine mammal populations.
To add the stress of a reduced food supply (krill harvesting) to that equation is an activity that deserves to be critically reviewed. Tough questions need to be asked, which is why even National Geographic Magazine has warned about the 80 percent drop in krill populations over the last few decades.
Fishing in the Arctic, where many krill live, is being destroyed by overfishing. The oceans are being stressed globally! Recently, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) voted to ban ALL commercial fishing in U.S. waters north of the Bering Straight due to the devastation being caused by unregulated commercial fishing. As quoted in the Washington Post (4), council aide Bill Wilson said, "There's concern over unregulated fishing, there's concern about warming, there's concern about how commercial fishing might affect resources in the region, local residents and subsistence fishing and the ecosystem as a whole."
The Marine Conservation Alliance also supports the ban on commercial fishing in Arctic waters. Other supporters include the Ocean Conservancy, the Pew Environmental Group and Oceana. The bottom line is that every person knowledgeable about the delicacy of marine ecosystems is supporting reductions or bans on commercial fishing. This speaks to the urgency of restoring the biodiversity and "web of life" in ocean waters, in which krill play an important role.
The fact is that many reputable scientists have publicly expressed their concern over this reduction in the food supply of marine mammals, many of which are living on the edge of survivability due to factors such as global warming.
How sustainable is YOUR food source?When it comes to foods and supplements, different people have different tolerance levels of consuming items that are grown or harvested in non-sustainable ways. Some people, for example, can tolerate eating beef from cows raised in horrific, ecologically-disastrous factory farms. Others will eat only plant-based diets derived from organic, sustainably-grown food from local farms.
Between those two extremes, there are many gradations of ecological sustainability, and krill oil is located somewhere along that line, between factory farmed cows and pure vegan diets. But in no way is krill an "unlimited" resource that can be tapped without consequence. That kind of limited, short-term thinking is what's causing the mass over-fishing of the oceans right now, leading to estimates that global seafood stocks will be virtually depleted in five decades if something isn't done to curb overfishing.(2)
This study, published in the journal Science in 2006, found that fish stocks in the world's oceans would be "completely eradicated by 2048" based on current fishing trends. Remember: These are fish stocks that were once described as "infinite" by nearly everyone who sold fish for a living. This is the same attitude of krill promoters today -- that krill populations are essentially infinite and that stripping krill out of the ocean has no effect whatsoever on marine life.
What's important to note about the research mentioned above is that the collapse of fish populations described there was due to a collapse of biodiversity and the presences of other "stressors." For example, as The Independent reports, "The study found that the seas were becoming more prone to outbreaks of algal growths, as well as other diseases, and less resistant to the effects of climate change and pollution."
In this environment, is it really wise to view krill populations as being infinite while presuming there are no effects whatsoever of removing them from this delicate ecological system? Such prognostications seem ignorant at best, and foolish at worst. And yet this is the position of irresponsible krill promoters, most of which seem to put their own profits ahead of the sustainability of life on our planet.
These facts explain why I have been such a strong proponent of Moxxor, which is a green-lipped mussel extract made from aquaculture farms. These aquaculture farms remove no food source from marine mammals whatsoever. That's because they are planted and harvested much like land crops, so their ocean farming is sustainable and renewable. Simply put, harvesting green-lipped mussels from aquaculture farms does not steal a food source from whales, penguins or other marine mammals.
And I feel good about that. It's one of the many reasons why I stopped taking krill oil supplements and shifted to Moxxor. If you want to hear the whole story on Moxxor, and why I believe it's superior to krill oil, just listen to my audio presentation here: http://www.naturalnews.com/green_lipped_muss...
The facts about krill oilTo gather more information on this story and get to the facts of the situation, I have conducted an interview with the primary provider of krill oil to U.S. resellers. This is the company providing krill oil to the critics who have accused NaturalNews of a "scare story" for daring to ask these questions about the sustainability of krill harvesting.
This interview, which will be made public shortly, reveals that there is absolutely no eco-certification of krill harvesting by any recognized eco-certification group. While krill promoters claim that krill harvesting is "one of the most heavily regulated" of any fishing operations, the reality is that it isn't eco-certified at all. Rather, krill harvesting quotas are set by what is essentially a political group made up of a mixture of scientists and diplomats from various countries that having fishing boats harvesting krill right out of the ocean waters.
Furthermore, the company providing krill oil to most of the U.S. private labelers doesn't even run its own boats! They just buy krill from boats run by private companies originating from different countries. So they do not have control over the quality or eco-sustainability of the krill harvesting.
Finally, it is well known that some krill harvesting takes place by boats that don't follow any rules whatsoever. Essentially, anyone with a boat and a fishing net can motor into the krill waters and start plundering krill right out of those waters with virtually no interference. These waters are not "policed" by any meaningful number of patrol boats, for example. There is virtually no enforcement of fishing boats that wish to violate krill harvesting rules.
Some krill oil promoters even claim krill is the "largest biomass on the planet." This is laughingly inaccurate. Bacteria are, by far, the largest biomass on the planet. And second to that are most likely fungi. Krill is nowhere near the largest biomass on the planet.
What krill oil promoters want you to believe is that there's so much krill on the planet that taking millions of tons of it out of the ocean has no impact on the animals that depend on krill. That is a remarkably arrogant and ignorant statement for anyone to make, and it really speaks to the lack of integrity by those individuals making these statements.
It's no surprise that the people making those statements are earning huge profits from selling krill (which is incredibly cheap to plunder out of the oceans, by the way. The markups on krill oil are absolutely HUGE).
Green-lipped mussel oil is the "Green" Marine Omega-3Responsible aquaculture farming is far more expensive to conduct than plundering krill right out of the open ocean, but it's also more ecologically responsible. For those consumers who want to make sure their nutritional supplements are as eco-friendly as possible, choosing marine products made primarily from aquaculture farms is the wiser choice.
Moxxor's green-lipped mussel oil is aquacultured from sustainable, renewable aquaculture farms. That makes the raw material many times more expensive than krill oil, and yet the resulting supplement is still competitive priced. (Profits on green-lipped mussel oil are very small compared to the enormous profits on krill oil.)
NaturalNews has learned that the primary krill oil provider in the United States is now pressuring National Geographic Magazine to change their story, which reported a stunning drop of krill populations (80 percent) over the last few decades. This is an example of a commercial operation engaged in media arm-twisting so that the truth about krill gets censored.
And what truth is that? Krill oil harvesting may be extremely harmful to the delicate web of life in aquatic environments.
Here are some additional facts that may surprise you about this:
&bull: Fact: Krill oil companies do not monitor the population levels of marine mammals that depend on krill oil for their food supply.
• As a result, any die-off of marine mammals due to increased stress from a reduced food supply is extremely unlikely to be detected by krill harvesters and promoters.
• Fact: Krill oil harvesting is not eco-certified by anyone.
• Fact: Krill oil companies don't run their own boats. Thus, they do not have control over the supply chain of their own raw materials. How do they really know if the material is handled properly? How do they know the harvesting is done in an eco-conscious way?
• Fact: Krill oil is relatively cheap to produce compared to green-lipped mussel oil. The profit margins on krill oil are significantly higher than margins on green-lipped mussel oil.
• Fact: 100% of the criticism aimed at NaturalNews about krill oil has originated from aggressive promoters of krill oil who have seen their profits drop as consumers are wising up and switching from krill oil to Moxxor.
• Fact: No oil in the world has resulted in me hearing the kind of astonishing testimonials that have been volunteered by real people talking about Moxxor's green-lipped mussel oil. The true stories I hear about pain reduction, inflammation reduction, improved hair and skin and improved circulation have never been told to me by anyone taking krill oil or fish oil. Fish oil, in particular, is something people take and generally notice nothing. But Moxxor's green-lipped mussel oil is entirely different: People FEEL the difference within days, and they can quantify and describe in great detail the improvements they are experiencing. You can read some of the testimonials here: http://www.naturalnews.com/green_lipped_muss...
• Fact: The only true "scare story" happening here is that krill oil promoters are scared of losing money on their high-profit, low-cost krill products as people switch to a superior product like Moxxor.
• Fact: I have publicly pledged 50 percent of all Moxxor profits to supporting public education efforts about nutrition through organizations like the non-profit Consumer Wellness Center. Promoters of krill oil and fish oil, on the other hand, pledge nothing other than keeping all the profits for themselves. (To them, this is about profit. To me, it's about directing operating funds to support important causes.)
What krill oil promoters don't want you to knowThe truth is that marine biology is a very complex thing, and those who think they can plunder the oceans in a non-renewable way are acting with the same arrogance as Easter Island inhabitants who destroyed their entire civilization through runaway deforestation. (3)
Indeed, the wild harvesting of krill is a lot like chopping down old growth forest trees without planting any new ones. Harvesting green-lipped mussels in aquaculture farms is like planting your own trees, then harvesting them after a few years and re-planting more trees on the same acreage.
For thousands of years, humans have operated with the belief that they could plunder the oceans without consequence. Through most of human history, they were right. But today, the massive scale of ocean harvesting of various food sources has reached the point of global collapse. Now is the time that intelligent, courageous voices must stand up and question the practice of harvesting of ocean life without limits. This stance isn't a "scare story," it is a conscious act of well-informed concern for the sustainability of life on our planet, much of which depends on the biodiversity of the oceans.
The foods and supplements we choose to consume on a regular basis have a lasting impact on the future of our planet. For those who don't care about the future of life on Earth, feel free to eat hamburgers and take supplements that are unsustainably harvested from land or the oceans. But for the more compassionate, connected and well-informed individuals who understand that their choices do, indeed, ripple out through the living systems on our planet, the plundering of the ocean's krill populations deserves skeptical consideration.
Additional sources for this story:(1) National Geographic
(2) The Independent
(3) Jared Diamond, "Collapse: How Societies Choose to Succeed or Fail"
(4) Washington Post
(5) Boston Globe
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