Vacuuming Antartica for krill
Some of the UK's largest retailers are selling Antarctic krill oil as a health supplement, according to a report by Sum of Us.
Sainsbury's, ASDA, Tesco and Boots are among retailers selling krill oil-based supplements like Vitabiotics, MegaRed, and Bioglan.
These high-profile retailers are now the target of a campaign by the Sum of Us.
Krill are vacuumed in vast quantities from the Southern Ocean and pumped into omega-3 supplements.
However they are also are a vital food source for hundreds of marine creatures in the Antarctic and the new SumOfUs report shows that krill numbers are crashing, endangering the survival of hundreds of marine creatures like whales, penguins, and seals.
Campaignes say that Krill populations have already dropped 80 percent since the 1970s.
The four retailers targetted all stock the Vitabiotics brand, which claims to be sustainably certified. But campaigners say the claim doesn't stand up to scrutiny.
Leading environmental groups including Pew Environment Group and Greenpeace have long objected to the certification of krill fishing, saying that it "falsely advertises the message that all krill are sustainably caught and that consuming krill-based omega 3 supplements or purchasing farmed salmon raised on krill meal is okay. Nothing could be further from the truth."
Sum of Us said in a statement, "Many of these major retailers have articulated commitments to sustainability and addressing climate change but, at the same time, they continue to be some of the largest sellers of krill-based products."
"In doing so, they are actively supporting the companies that extract krill from the ocean and threaten the Antarctic ecosystem."
The following companies are also selling MegaRed krill-based products:
- Holland and Barret
- The Vitamin Shoppe
- Lucky Vitamin
- Chemist Direct
Campaigners are demanding that retailers:
- Stop selling all Antarctic krill oil products
- Adopt a corporate policy against the sales of all Antarctic krill oil products
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