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There are at least six commercial fisheries currently harvesting six different species of euphausiids, or krill. Most of these fisheries have been operating for over 20 years, but very little information is generally available on these fisheries other than on that for Antarctic krill. This report summarizes information from a number of sources on the fisheries for and biology of Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba); North Pacific krill (Euphausia pacifica), which is fished off Japan and off western Canada; Euphausia nana, fished off the coast of Japan; Thysanoessa inermis, fished off the coast of Japan and off eastern Canada; and Thysanoessa raschii and Meganyctiphanes norvegica, fished off eastern Canada. Information is also presented for Nyctiphanes australis, for which a fishery has been proposed off southeastern Australia. The products of krill fisheries are currently mainly used for the aquaculture and sport fishing market, but considerable effort has also been put into developing products for human consumption, particularly from Antarctic krill. An increase in the use of krill as an aquaculture feed is likely, but this will be accompanied by developments in biotechnological and pharmaceutical products as well as improved food products. The current world catch of all species of krill is approximately 160 000 tonnes, but few fisheries are being exploited to their maximum potential. The world krill harvest is currently limited by lack of demand, but some fisheries are deliberately managed at low levels because of concerns over the effects of harvesting krill on other elements of the marine ecosystem. Because of the central ecological role of krill in many marine ecosystems, the subject of krill harvesting is a sensitive issue and krill fisheries require careful management. This requirement has spawned an innovative international management regime in the Antarctic, the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), which has developed procedures for managing the harvest of Antarctic krill which may be applicable to other fisheries.

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