The Antarctic Peninsula is a crucial spot for humpback and minke whales to feed on krill—the keystone species of the Antarctic food web. Despite its minuscule size, krill feeds far larger animals, such as penguins, seals, seabirds, and fish. An ocean current flowing clockwise around the content and north up the Western Peninsula brings swarms of these critters.
However, as oceans warm and sea ice declines, krill is on the move toward lower latitudes—farther south—requiring whales to travel longer distances to feed. Unfortunately, krill fishing is concentrated in this area and overlaps with crucial feeding areas for whales and other krill-dependent species.
As climate change is impacting the region, any increased competition with a growing fishery means we need to ensure that krill is harvested responsibly in this fragile habitat.