Fishery Management Plan and Amendments: Amendment 12

Amendment 12 – Measures to Prohibit Fishing for Krill

At its March 2006 meeting, the Council adopted a complete ban on commercial fishing for all species of krill in West Coast federal waters. They also specified essential fish habitat for krill, an action that makes it easier to work with other federal agencies to protect krill.

Krill (euphausiids) are small shrimp-like crustaceans that serve as the basis of the marine food chain. They are eaten by many species of fish managed by the Council, as well as by whales and seabirds. Although there was no fishery for krill in Council waters, krill are fished in Antarctica, Japan, and off the west coast of Canada. They are used in aquaculture and livestock feed and for fish bait and pet foods.

Because of the importance of krill to the marine food chain, the Council took action to ban krill harvest immediately, and made no provisions for future fisheries. Industry representatives on the Coastal Pelagic Species Advisory Subpanel, agreed that krill are critically important to the ecosystem but, some felt more research and scientific analysis is needed before concluding a total ban on fishing is necessary. There are currently no directed krill fisheries on the U.S. West Coast and state laws prohibit krill landings by state-licensed fishing vessels in California, Oregon, and Washington. This broader prohibition will apply to all vessels in Council managed waters and will take form as Amendment 12 to the Council’s coastal pelagic species fishery management plan.

The proposal for a krill ban was first proposed by the National Marine Sanctuary Program and was extended to all Council-managed waters in recognition of the import role krill plays in the whole of the West Coast ecosystem and is representative of effective collaboration between the Council and the National Marine Sanctuary Program.

The proposal for a krill ban was first proposed for West Coast National Marine Sanctuary waters by the National Marine Sanctuary Program. Extending the prohibition to all Council-managed waters recognizes the import role krill plays in the whole of the West Coast ecosystem and is representative of effective collaboration between the Council and the National Marine Sanctuary Program.

In a letter dated October 30, 2007, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) questioned the necessity of the prohibition and returned NOAA’s proposed rule implementing Amendment 12 for additional analyses. In response, NMFS Southwest Regional Office broadened the analysis of the alternatives and status quo to more clearly define the need for the prohibition and better describe the existing potential for krill harvest. Upon review of these revisions, OMB approved a proposed rule implementing Amendment 12. On May 20, 2008 NMFS published the proposed rule in the Federal Register for public comment through June 19, 2008.

On July 13, 2009, NMFS published a final rule in the Federal Register implementing the krill ban into regulation.

For further information, contact the staff officer for CPS: Mr. Kerry Griffin (Kerry.Griffin@noaa.gov) phone (503) 820-2280 ext. 409; or toll free 1-866-806-7204; fax (503) 820-2299.