The Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources came into force in 1982, as part of the Antarctic Treaty System.
It was established mainly in response to concerns that an increase in krill catches in the Southern Ocean could have a serious effect on populations of krill and other marine life; particularly on birds, seals and fish, which mainly depend on krill for food.
The aim of the Convention is to conserve marine life of the Southern Ocean however, this does not exclude harvesting carried out in a rational manner.
It uses a ‘precautionary’ approach to minimise risk associated with unsustainable practices in conditions of uncertainly. This approach takes into account ecological links between species and ‘natural’ as opposed to ‘human-induced’ variability.
Collection of large quantities of information and the development of appropriate scientific and analytical techniques are key functions to achieve the Convention’s aims. Relevant New Zealand legislation is the Antarctic Marine Living Resources Act 1981.