We discuss a number of ecological issues in relation to CCAMLR’s aspiration for managing the krill fishery at small temporal and spatial scales. We highlight that the devil is in the detail, and a lot of detail is potentially necessary for managing at these smaller scales. Much of this detail is currently lacking, or only partial; consequently, we highlight an alternative approach, closed coastal areas.
Closed coastal areas potentially protect near-shore krill-dependent predators from the impacts of fishing, augmenting CCAMLR’s existing large-scale management framework. Seasonal, or year round closed coastal buffers will alter the potential levels of catch displacement, and therefore highlights the need for coupled research to ensure fishery displacement does not become too concentrated in other vulnerable habitats.
A body of research will be fundamental to understanding how to move beyond the current harvest levels, including the implementation of regular acoustic surveys at different times of year to better inform both ecological understanding and harvesting regimes. This is important as we demonstrate that krill demand from a range of predators in near-shore coastal habitats may only be met through oceanographic flow and krill movement. Krill flux and krill behaviour remains key to increased understanding.
Repeated acoustic assessments, ongoing research, couple with closed coastal areas has the potential to lead to a new management dynamic.