Krill oil seems to be all the rage lately. Almost as many news and marketing campaigns surface about krill oil as articles and news of a relatively new term: ”eco-sustainability.” Krill oil isan omega-3 supplement derived from tiny crustaceans called Krill. Eco-sustainability is basically the measures taken to insure that an ecosystem or a species does not become extinct due to some kind of medaling by humans. When you put the two terms in the same sentence things get interesting.
The foods and supplements we choose to consume on a regular basis have a lasting impact on the future of our planet. While there is a lot of health news buzzing about the benefits of krill oil, these reports either omit or deny the deleterious effect krill harvesting is having on its sustainability. Some scientists believe that wild harvesting of krill is ecologically irresponsible and completely insensitive to the marine mammals that depend on krill as their food source. Rather than responsibly using aquaculture farms, where nothing is taken away from the ocean ecosystem, krill oil is removed from the open ocean where whales and other marine mammals feed. It has been reported that reputable scientists have publicly expressed their concern over this reduction in the food supply of marine mammals, many of which are living on the edge of survivability due to factors such as global climate change. For this reason, some leading US health food retailers, such as Whole Foods, have refused to carry krill oil.
Krill oil promoters contend there is so much krill on the planet that taking millions of tons of it out of the ocean has no impact on the animals that depend on krill. Opposing that notion is National Geographic Magazine that has issued warnings noting an 80 percent drop in krill populations over the last few decades. It has since been reported that the primary krill oil provider in the United States is now pressuring National Geographic Magazine to retract their statement, however the scientific community still contends that Krill oil harvesting may be extremely harmful to the delicate web of life in aquatic environments, and that no way is krill an “unlimited” resource that can be tapped without consequence.
Conversely, green-lipped mussel oil, found in Omega XL, comes from sustainable, renewable aquaculture farms. Harvesting New Zealand green-lipped mussels from aquaculture farms does not steal a food source from other marine life.Moreover, the aquaculture in New Zealand is perhaps the most stringent in the world. Not only does the New Zealand Minister of Fisheries impose strict limits in the form of a management system, the program also complements other governmental monitoring and quality assurance programs to help ensure that New Zealand green-lipped mussels are grown in the cleanest water on earth.
The environmental protection of the New Zealand waterways is crucial to the eco-sustainability of the green-lipped mussel. The green-lipped mussel is a filter-feeding mollusk, dependent on a clean environment that allows the mussel to feed naturally on nutritious algae and micro plankton. This is quite different from some farm-raised fish such as salmon, used in the production of salmon oil. Many times those fish are fed omega-6 rich corn feeds and are susceptible to fertilizers or herbicidal agents. Instead, mussel farming optimizes the natural properties of the seawater.
Responsible aquaculture farming, such as that involved in the production of Omega XL, is far more expensive to conduct than pillaging other ecosystems, but it is more ecologically responsible and sustainable and in stark contrast to other sources of omega-3s, particularly krill oil.