krill Federal law prohibits krill fishing off U.S. west coast As of August 12, 2009 the harvesting of krill in the in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) off the coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington will be prohibited by federal law.

Yesterday, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) published a final rule in the Federal Register prohibiting the harvesting of krill in these three regions. All types of krill harvesting will be illegal, regardless of fishery and gear type.

Krill are the foundation for a healthy marine ecosystem,” said Mark Helvey, NOAA’s Fisheries Service Southwest Assistant Regional Administrator for Sustainable Fisheries. “Protecting this vital food resource will help protect and maintain marine resources and put federal regulations in line with West-Coast states.”

Harvesting krill within three miles of the coastline of California, Oregon, and Washington has already been prohibited by state law, but the zone situated between three and 200 miles off the coast have lacked krill protection until now.

This is a great success for protecting the entire California Current ecosystem“, said William Douros, West Coast Regional Director for NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. “This decision reflects strong teamwork within NOAA and a commitment to addressing the issues raised by the Pacific Fishery Management Council and Sanctuary Advisory Councils.”

The krill protection rule was adopted as Amendment 12 to the Coastal Pelagic Species Fishery Management Plan (FMP), which was developed by the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. Amendment 12 adds all species of krill under a new category: ‘prohibited harvest species’.