Don’t Worry — We Won’t Run Out Of Krill
I was with my husband and a friendly couple, admiring the natural beauty of a mountain pass with snow capped peaks in the distance, when the other gentleman told us that a major natural food chain was removing all of the krill oil from its shelves, because the harvesting of krill was not a bio-sustainable practice.
Now I am usually pretty cool about science; looking at data, revising opinions. I have never really considered myself an ecologist, since the politics are often richer than the data. (Ask someone if they actually think the globe is getting warmer and it is not usually necessary to inquire about their political affiliation.)
I just looked him right in the eye and said “No way, this is nuts!”
People rarely look at the whole of an issue. People rarely make rational decisions. I mean, we are not exactly wired the ways computers are wired. From buying a house or car to choosing a spouse, people rarely think rationally at all, relying mostly on “guts” and all kinds of other reasons for preference that we can barely think to describe. So maybe it is too much to actually get people to think rationally about krill.
The reason I knew he and the natural store were wrong is quite simple; there are a lot of krill in this world — an awful lot.
Krill are very teency marine crustaceans; that is, animals resembling shrimp. They are considered part of marine “zooplankton;” that is, the first link in the food chain; animals that are only a couple of micrometers long, that flow freely in our oceans. They are the principal food of baleen whales, who take in great amounts of them with the water.
Here are some clear sketches of what these essentially microscopic entities look like: (Kind of like patriarchs or matriarchs whose family bring them great plates of foods, at Las Vegas buffets.)
Several hundred million tons a year are present, making it the biggest biomass; the biggest weight of living things, on earth, period, and replacing itself at least as fast as it is harvested.
There is a nice synthesis on what is going on with krill, really, by Dr. Joseph Mercola.
Let us follow up what is actually going on here.
There is plenty more on the web for both sides, but one thing is immediately evident.
The people who want to protect the krill harvest are talking about banning such in the waters off California, where it is possible that the rockfish population has dropped a bit. Rockfish eat krill. The only people who cite quantitative, seemingly objective data, are the ones who say there is plenty of krill. It seems to be in Antarctica, where people who harvest krill for nutritional supplementation generally do so.
It seems as if we are doing an emotional “save the whales” sort of science manipulation, destined to manipulate the general public into crediting certain natural food stores for trying to be “nice” to the environment.
It would be wonderful, really wonderful, if every time a decision were made on “science” the general public could be trusted to followup and check out that science, and try to be as quantitative as possible about it, and hack through the forests of “let’s try to be politically correct” type agendas.
A lot of water has passed under the bridge since Thomas Jefferson invoked the sovereignty of a knowing public to eliminate extremism by balancing it. The public has instead turned to what amounts to populist propaganda — exemplified by our major broadcast news networks – where simplified knowledge and opinion are sorted into “right” and “left” political stances — neither of which can embrace krill without a lot of translation.
I always considered myself too lucky to have been taught by the best how to generate and evaluate scientific data. Anyone can learn who wants to, I think, but it is not particularly simple and takes some work. People can at least choose who they listen to. At the very least, people ought to be able to tease out some of the commercial agendas that are behind pseudo-scientific statements and decisions.
Instead, the masses tend to be lazy and to let people who share their prejudices and fears become their pundits, and allowing them to make decisions for them. In fact — to do their thinking for them.
I would love some yummy krill about now, although it is admittedly only one way to get the eicosapentanoic and docosahexanoic acid (better known as EPA/DHA) that will build my nervous system. I will not be helping to render whales extinct.
If you are interested in finding out more about Fish Oil, Krill Oil and other ways to get EPA/DHA from your diet and supplements, I have a free report that makes it easy to understand.