If you read this blog you’ll probably have worked out that much of my life revolves around the ocean, wildlife and marine conservation volunteering.
There are so many problems facing the ocean but there’s one thing that’s particularly weedled its way under my skin… mostly because of how completely pointless it is… the sale of krill oil.
Krill oil in the UK is sold straight to consumers as a dietary supplement. It’s peddled as an anti-ageing product, a miracle pill to keep away the wrinkles and fine lines.
Carol Vorderman didn’t seem so clever to me when she became the desperate face of Bioglan Krill Oil.
In the Southern Ocean, krill is the primary food source for many Antarctic animals including whales, seals and penguins. Strong krill stocks are vital for the existence of the entire Antarctic ecosystem.
In the last decade or so, bigger and bigger fishing boats have been engineered to hoover hundreds of thousands tonnes of krill out of the ocean.
Wildlife populations have declined as a result with case studies reporting malnourished humpback whales stranding off the coast of New Zealand and penguin populations plummeting.
So, to put it simply…
THEY NEED KRILL, WE DON’T
Grrrrraaarrrrrrrgghhhgghhhhh! It makes me so mad!
I mean, come on Carol… I’d rather be a wizened old prune sunning my raisin-face whilst humpback-spotting than know that my vanity has contributed to wiping Great Whales off the planet.
So, I’ve been writing to supermarkets, spreading the word via social media and executing my own one-woman campaign against the stuff using good old pen and paper…
As thrilling as guerilla educating is, ‘accidentally’ leaving notes in shops was never going to change much so I started writing to those at the top.
My main target was Waitrose. I’d had various emailed conversations with them over the last 4 years or so as they market themselves as one of the most environmentally conscious supermarkets in the UK. It’s a long story but they were reassured of sustainability by the WWF and MSC labelling, two organisations that receive funding from fisheries.
They dug their heels in, put their head in the sand, whatever. So I created a petition: Petition: Waitrose: The sale of krill oil is destroying the Antarctic ecosystem
The first 500 signatures was easy, after that it slowed down. Then I had to abandon the campaign to enter ‘Eden’.
Coming back to ‘real life’ after Eden was emotional. I got to talk to my family again, see my favourite places, feel freedom.
Yet the first thing to bring a tear to my eye was to see that Waitrose had finally taken krill oil off its shelves.
It might not have been anything to do with me, they may have already begun investigating it by the time that I started the petition, but to think that I may have played even a teensy-tiny part somewhere along the line is incredibly special to me.
Krill might be tiny, my voice amongst millions of others might be tiny, but maybe even tiny things can try to make big changes.