The Antarctic Peninsula and Scotia Sea regional ecosystem and potentially management of the krill fishery are both experiencing rapid change. This includes warming, growth in krill catches, and increasingly concentrated fishing effort, all of which impact penguins and other predators. Further, the krill fishery is expanding into areas of East Antarctica unfished since the 1990s. Here ASOC identifies current priorities and future actions of importance for maintaining a healthy ecosystem in the context of the Antarctic krill fishery. ASOC recommends that:
• CCAMLR should be prepared to adopt an improved krill fishery management measure next year that strengthens protection for krill predators since Conservation Measure (CM) 51-07 will expire at the end of the 2020/21 fishing season. To provide the Commission with advice needed for the revision of CM 51-07, ASOC recommends that SC-CAMLR prioritize completion prior to the end of Working Group meetings in 2021 of all three priority elements of the 2019 krill management work plan – the biomass estimate, stock assessment, and in particular the risk assessment.
• CCAMLR should implement a revised management system by 2022-2023 that also includes regular krill surveys including in nearshore areas; reevaluation of stock and risk assessment models; a comprehensive revision of the CCAMLR Ecosystem Monitoring Plan (CEMP); explicit measures to increase resilience to climate change; and increased industry contributions to the scientific costs of an ecosystem-based management system.
• SC-CAMLR should develop catch and bycatch reporting methods to mitigate ecosystem impacts, including methods to accurately report catch despite differences in greenweight estimation techniques between vessels; and develop methods to evaluate and monitor fish and seabird bycatch in continuous mid-water trawl method, advising on mitigation measures.