To the whales, seals and penguins of the Antarctic: it’s dinner. To you and me: it’s a small creature called krill, which forms the bedrock of the Antarctic food web. But unfortunately, and as a new report by Greenpeace lays bare, for an expanding multimillion dollar fishing industry: it’s an investment opportunity.
One of the quirks of life on our planet is that the biggest creatures to have ever lived, blue whales, depend on something no bigger than your little finger: krill. Gathering in their billions, these tiny crustaceans form vast clouds of pink in Antarctic waters which can stretch for miles and show up in satellite imagery.
Blue, humpback, fin and minke whales all consume krill – some up to two tonnes in a single day. Penguin colonies across the Antarctic are strewn with pink-stained snow because of the volume of krill they eat. Fur seals, crabeater seals, and many more animals rely on them.
Photo: Øystein Paulsen/Wikimedia Commons