Tiny Fish Endure Big Collapses—How We Can Help

Populations of tiny forage fish, such as herring and sardines, fluctuate naturally, and sometimes collapse. This can have harmful effects on the fishing industry and on larger animals (including whales, tuna, birds, and seals) that depend on forage fish for sustenance. But a 2014 study offers a clue as to how we might make such collapses less severe.

The study, led by Pew marine fellow Tim Essington, found that intense fishing makes collapses worse than would be expected from natural fluctuations alone. That means we may be able to make a big difference for fishermen and forage fish if we time our fishing right.

For details, visit

Media Contact

Elizabeth Striano

Officer, Communications