As the US and the EU push harder for more Antarctic marine protected areas, restricting the South Antarctic krill fishery has implications that go beyond the fishery itself.
It is uncertain that tougher krill fishery restrictions will become law in the short term. What will change in the medium term though, is how fishing quotas and marine protected areas are decided, and how the Antarctic ecosystem is handled, fisheries included.
The decades’ long consensus-voting model, in our opinion, is most probably doomed. Been the world’s best managed fishery, with fishing quotas following the best science, they seem not enough for organizations that aim for the closure of most of the fishery. By default, key stakeholders vote against further restrictions, in the long term putting the consensus-voting model under review. With it, other non-fishery policy might fall in the same review.
As the Antarctic treaty will soon be reviewed, the way fishing quotas are assigned most probably will change, as well as other Antarctic matters.