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Pew Releases State of the Science Regarding Forage Fish on the West Coast

Science & Tech  (tags: investigation, research, science, scientists, study, world, discovery, habitat, health, environment )

- 1913 days ago -
This week, the Pew Environment Group's Ocean Science Division released a new report noting that forage fish may be more valuable as prey than as catch, especially in upwelling ecosystems like the California Current

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JL A (281)
Monday January 21, 2013, 10:07 am
The The State of the Science - Forage Fish in the California Current

Jan 13, 2013
Pacific Fish Conservation Campaign
Ocean Science Division
Contact: Jo Knight, 202.552.2070

The California Current flows southward from British Columbia bringing cool waters along the West Coast and producing a nutrient-rich upwelling that supports diverse species of forage fish. These play an important and often underappreciated role in the “middle” of the food web. Species, such as the Pacific sardine and northern anchovy, eat plankton and nourish predators such as whales, sea lions, seabirds, sharks, salmon, and tuna. Changes in the availability of forage fish— abundance, size, timing, and location —have been shown to affect populations of predators. In addition, fisheries targeting forage fish may indirectly or directly compete with predator needs. Although some forage fish are consumed by humans, most are used for nonfood products such as animal feed, pet food, and fishing bait.

Forage fish populations are influenced by environmental variation, natural processes, and human activities such as fishing, coastal development, and pollution. They are also subject to natural population cycles. These factors are not always well-understood and are difficult to incorporate into most management approaches. Few forage fisheries are managed, and of those that are, managers rarely consider factors such as predator needs or environmental conditions. Yet economic and ecosystem research indicates that forage fish may be more valuable as prey than as catch.

Several large-scale studies have also recently suggested thresholds of forage fish biomass that should remain in the ocean for predators. Considering the increasing number of threats to forage fish, scientists recommend that efforts should be made to control those factors that we can, such as fishing, to help ensure the maximum resilience possible to factors that we cannot easily control, such as climate change. This approach is important for the health of both forage fish stocks and the predators that rely on them.

[Full report available at the site]

Past Member (0)
Tuesday January 22, 2013, 6:11 am
noted thx:)

Mary Donnelly (47)
Tuesday January 22, 2013, 1:19 pm
Thanks J.L. A. for another informative post.

Christina G (11)
Tuesday January 22, 2013, 1:43 pm
how can we protect anything if we keep increasing our human population? Back in the 60's there was a lot of effort in that direction but seems to have been crushed by governments who want more people to support them and the religious right. Can we please grow up now and deal with reality?

JL A (281)
Tuesday January 22, 2013, 4:13 pm
You are welcome Magda and Mary.
You cannot currently send a star to Chris because you have done so within the last week.

greenplanet e (155)
Tuesday January 22, 2013, 5:53 pm
I agree, leave forage fish in the ocean for predator fish, and also stop overfishing forage and predator fish.

JL A (281)
Tuesday January 22, 2013, 5:58 pm
You cannot currently send a star to greenplanet because you have done so within the last week.

Jaime Alves (52)
Wednesday January 23, 2013, 7:45 am
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