The use of patent databases to predict trends in the krill fishery
The fishery for Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) caught 210 000 tonnes in 2009/10 with vessels from six of CCAMLR’s 25 Members participating in the fishery. Trends in the krill fishery are currently informed by data on annual catches and by CCAMLR’s annual notification procedure. There has been considerable discussion within the Scientific Committee over the utility of these sources of information to detect trends in the fishery, and of the need to obtain more information from the krill industry so that developments that affect future catches can be predicted. This paper uses publicly available patent databases to examine both the number and type of patents related to krill that are lodged annually. This information shows similar trends to the catch and notification information, and the three sources of information can be used in combination to provide information to the Commission on potential changes in the krill fishery. The Scientific Committee has recommended that the patent database be maintained by the Secretariat so that it can annually update a register of krill-related patents which will be of use for indicating potential future trends in the krill fishery.