With international interest growing in the uses for krill, Australia will be out to ensure the conservation and sustainability of the Southern Ocean at the annual meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), which begins in Hobart today.

Demand for krill and krill oil is increasing for use in aquaculture, pharmaceuticals and as food additives. The latest is yoghurt when, earlier this year, two major international companies entered into agreement with a bioresources company to research and develop new fresh dairy products.

Australia will propose amendments to existing conservation measures, improvements to the System of Inspection, and agreement that any increase in the precautionary catch limit for krill is complemented by adequate monitoring, control and surveillance measures.

Leader of the Australian delegation, Dr Tony Press – Director of the Australian Antarctic Division – said that the krill fishery required orderly and precautionary development.

“We believe there should be observers on all krill vessels, more adequate reporting systems, a vessel-monitoring system that reports to the CCAMLR Secretariat, port inspections of krill vessels, and no krill fishing in unsurveyed areas,” he said.

Australia will continue its strong stance against illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing for toothfish, including having ships involved in such activities placed on CCAMLR’s IUU Vessel List.

Dr Press said it was important to keep track of rogue vessels whose activities undermined the effectiveness of international conservation and management measures.

Dr Press leads a delegation which includes representatives of Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments, conservation groups and the fishing industry, who provide scientific and policy advice.

The meeting will be held from October 22 until November 2 at CCAMLR Headquarters, Macquarie St, Hobart.

For the first time China will be attending as a Member State, having recently become the 25th party to join CCAMLR.