Representatives of the krill fishing industry and major UK krill oil retailers have signed a voluntary agreement with Greenpeace to restrict krill fishing in areas around the Antarctic.

Among the signatories were the British Retails Consortium and grocery and nutrition supplement retailers Aldi, Asda, Boots, Cooperative Group, Holland & Barrett, Lidl, Morrisons, Ocado, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose, reported Food Navigator on 12 July.

On the supplier side, the signatories represented 85% of the krill fishing industry and included Aker Biomarine, CNFC, Insung, Pescachile and Rimfrost.

Krill oil is used as an omega-3 source in supplements.

Louisa Casson from Greenpeace’s Protect the Antarctic campaign welcomed the move, saying: “It’s great that British retailers are responding to the wave of public support for ocean protection by backing ocean sanctuaries in the Antarctic and upholding the precautionary approach with their suppliers when it comes to krill products.”

The signatories also pledged their support for the establishment of large-scale marine protected areas in the Antarctic, including in areas with active krill fishing.

“This will make a real difference to the protection of Antarctic waters and wildlife. But we want to go further and enshrine this protection with the establishment of a network of marine protected areas,” said Peter Andrews, head of sustainability at the British Retail Consortium.

The agreement followed the March publication of the Greenpeace report, ‘License to Krill’, which claimed that the krill fishing industry, which had been growing steadily since 2010, was threatening krill stocks in crucial marine feeding areas.