Krill is the collective name for marine planktonic crustaceans. The term itself is characterized by Dutch origin and translates as "kriel" - a trifle. The appearance of the crustaceans is very reminiscent of the familiar shrimp. Their size varies from 10 to 65 millimeters.

Krill forms commercial aggregations in the surface layers of water. Crustaceans prefer the moderate and high latitudes of the oceans, regardless of the hemisphere.

What you need to know about crustaceans, is it possible to eat krill meat and does it make sense to go to a fish shop for marine exoticism?

History reference

The start of the minimal krill fishery began in the 19th century. The process reached a large industrial scale only by the twentieth century. This was associated with the start of fishing in Antarctic waters by Japan and the Soviet Union. Initially, the fishery did not concentrate on specific species of marine life. Large clusters were formed not only by krill, but also by other representatives of the ocean - euphausian, amphipods and others. All of them were classified as krill, caught at certain points and sold under a single trade name.

Over time, the development of fishing and the refinement of the species composition took place. The decisive factor was also the introduction of special catch licenses. At that time, krill meant primarily euphausiids. Now the name of krill depends on the geographical type of fishing. Antarctic krill is considered the most important and numerous. This group includes up to 80 species of crustaceans, among which 30 species are euphausiids.

Antarctic krill is considered the largest (reaches 6.5 centimeters in length) and is important from an industrial point of view. He was even included in the list of commercial species of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Varieties of planktonic crustaceans

Among the dozens of krill species, only 7 are considered especially important (they include Antarctic, Pacific, Norwegian krill and others). The maximum weight of marine life varies from 2 to 0.15 grams, and the length is from 65 to 10 millimeters. The life expectancy of a crustacean is also very different - from several months to 7 years. They live in different regions of the earth (Japan, Tasmania, Australia, Antarctica, British Columbia), but without exception they all lie at the same depth - from 150 to 300 meters from the surface.

Trophic chain role

Krill is at the very beginning of food chains.

The food or trophic chain is a series of relationships between individual groups of organisms, in which the transfer of matter and energy through the eating of some individuals by others develops. Organisms of the next link eat the living beings of the previous one - this is how energy, substances, and resources circulate. The life cycle in nature is based on trophic chains.

Since the crustacean is in the first chain, it is the basis of the ocean ecosystem. For example, in the coastal ecosystem of Antarctica, the life cycle is structured as follows:

  • krill eats phytoplankton and shallow zooplankton;
  • baleen whales, crabeater seals, pelagic fish or birds eat krill;
  • fish / birds / seals are eaten by a stronger predator and so on.


Today, commercial fishing for krill occurs in Antarctic waters and the coast of Japan. World production at the beginning of XXI is estimated at 150-200 thousand tons. Antarctic krill are caught strictly according to quotas that are set for Antarctica. Their size is determined by the Antarctic Marine Living Resources Conservation Commission (CCAMLR). CCAMLR, together with a working group on ecosystem monitoring and management, annually analyzes the situation in this area, regulates quotas and takes measures to preserve the ecosystem. CCAMLR was established in 1982. The Commission is based on the international Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources.

The catch of krill is clearly regulated by the commission. Safe, gentle and environmentally friendly production is the main requirement that all industrial companies adhere to. For example, in 2014, the maximum catch of crustaceans was 620 thousand tons. Such an indicator is based on a historically verified maximum. It is 620 thousand tons of krill that can be caught without harm to the ecosystem and the use of special measures to restore resources.

How are quotas calculated?

Quotas are granted only to countries that have become members of the agreements. The catch volume is determined separately for each country. The size of the quota is affected by the population, the status of the country, the amount of krill that whales, penguins and other marine inhabitants should consume.

For industrial fishing use special vessels - trawlers. These are massive floating factories, which perform a full cycle of production and preparation of meat for sales. On trawlers, the caught plankton is frozen, processed into flour or fat (biologically active additives and medicines are later created on their basis).

Catch and processing systems may vary for each trawler. It depends on the technological progress of the country and the funds allocated to the marine industry. To find the required amount of krill, sonar devices are used. The industrial fishing season starts on December 1st, and collapses on November 30th. Countries participating in the catch: Ukraine, Japan, Poland, Norway, China, Chile, Korea. Rarely do the United States and Russia join them.

The chemical composition of krill meat

Energy value of boiled-frozen Antarctic crustacean (calculated per 100 grams of product)
Calorie content98 kcal
Squirrels20.6 g
Fats1.7 g
Carbohydrates0 g
Water75.3 g
Alcohol0 g
Cholesterol210 g
Ash2.4 g
Alimentary fiber0 g
Vitamin composition of boiled-frozen Antarctic crustacean (in milligrams per 100 grams)
Retinol (A)0,1
Tocopherol (E)0,6
Thiamine (B1)0,03
Riboflavin (B2)0,04
Pyridoxine (B6)0,03
Folic Acid (B9)0,013
Niacin (PP)5,1
Antarctic crustacean boiled-ice cream nutrient balance (in milligrams per 100 grams)
Potassium (C)220
Calcium (Ca)70
Magnesium (Mg)50
Sodium (Na)540
Phosphorus (P)225
Trace elements
Iron (Fe)4
Fluorine (F)2,8

What you need to know about krill meat?

Krill meat is a natural storehouse of minerals, polyunsaturated fatty acids, vitamins, and healthy nutrients. It is believed that the product stimulates the production of hormones / enzymes, normalizes metabolic and metabolic processes, strengthens the nervous system, makes the heart healthier, hair longer, and a wider smile.

But is it really so?

The meat is part of the planktonic crustaceans that live in the surface water layers of high and temperate oceanic latitudes. The weight and size of crustaceans varies depending on the species, but does not exceed 2 grams and 65 millimeters.

The main difference between plankton is the habitat, all other characteristics are identical within the species. The main commercial species of crustaceans are Pacific and Atlantic krill.

The concentration of crustaceans in one meter of cubic water can reach 30,000 individuals.

In the 70s of the last century, the industrial catch of marine inhabitants began. Japan and the Soviet Union stood at the origins, and the name "Antarctic shrimp" was attached to krill.

Features of plankton processing

Processing of crustaceans takes place on each individual trawler and may differ from each other. The main point on which the processing technique depends is what exactly needs to be obtained from meat. It can only be meat, flour or fat. To get the meat you need to separate it from the shell.

How to do it?

To simplify the separation process, crustaceans are boiled at a temperature of 80 ° C. Boiled Antarctic shrimps are passed through a centrifuge, where heavy meat is separated from the lungs and the shell.

Another method of meat processing is air peeling. The meat is simply blown out of the shell with a powerful stream of air. But this method, like any other mechanical processing, can damage the integrity of the meat. Given the minimal size of the crustacean, it is best to maintain the structure and use more gentle cleaning methods.

Useful properties of a food product

The product is valuable due to the abundance of polyunsaturated fatty acids, vitamins and mineral components. 100 grams of crustacean meat contains about 20 grams of protein. It is noteworthy that such meat is much easier and more efficient (97%) is absorbed by the body compared to beef or chicken (about 75%).

What caused this?

As part of the oceanic plankton, all vital amino acids are distributed in equal amounts - this increases the degree of digestibility by the body. Environmentally friendly meat stimulates the quality growth and harmonious development of all body systems, improves the absorption of nutrients from food, goes well with tocopherol (vitamin E), which has a beneficial effect on the female / male reproductive system. Moreover, krill meat is recognized as hypoallergenic.

The product contains an abundance of fluoride (F) - 2.8 milligrams. This is twice the intake of the element with drinking water. It is important to note that other sources of fluorine that could cover a person’s need for an element simply do not exist in nature. The trace element is necessary for high-quality education and maintaining healthy bones, tooth enamel and dentin. Also, crustacean meat contains half the daily norm of iodine (I) - 60 micrograms. These substances act as a kind of prevention of caries, are responsible for dental health, mental development and production of thyroid hormones.

It should also be noted a high rate of iron (Fe) - 4 milligrams per 100 grams of meat. For comparison, the iron concentration in fish reaches 1.5 milligrams, in chicken - 3 milligrams, in beef - 2.6 kilograms. High nutrient foods are especially good for pregnant women or those who are just planning a pregnancy. Nutrient prevents the development of anemia, improves oxygen metabolism.

Another advantage of krill is polyunsaturated fatty acids. They reduce the concentration of harmful cholesterol, improve the regenerative processes within the body, and have a beneficial effect on the psychoemotional state and appearance. Moreover, the use of Omega-3 and Omega-6 is a kind of prevention of atherosclerosis, strokes and heart attacks. The meat has radioprotective and detoxifying properties.

Daily consumption of 50 grams of krill meat for a month minimizes the concentration of blood cholesterol by 1-2 units. Such a transformation will affect weight, the condition of the bone skeleton, improve memory functions and increase the overall quality of life.

Nutritionists recommend paying attention to crustaceans to overweight people. The meat restarts metabolic processes, contributes to the burning of subcutaneous fat and, most importantly, does it gradually, which means it is safe for the body. Noticeable results will appear 1-2 months after the correction of the diet and the introduction of comfortable physical activity.

You can replace any seafood in a dish with krill meat. The ingredient is best combined with green vegetables, lemon, hazelnuts, eggs, herbs (dill / parsley / spinach). You can buy the product in specialized fish shops or in a supermarket. Most often it is sold in boiled-ice cream or canned form.

Watch the video: What is krill? The secret life of whale food. (February 2020).