Little Fish Are a Big Deal

Oregon Sets Protections for Unmanaged Forage Fish

Oregon’s Fish and Wildlife Commission recently took action to protect and conserve several otherwise unregulated species of forage fish—a key component of the vibrant ocean food web that allows marine life to thrive off the Oregon coast. The commission unanimously adopted a plan that safeguards six groups of fish: lanternfish, sand lance, saury, silverside, smelt, and several types of squid. Commercial fishing of these species is now prohibited unless and until science shows that it will not have an adverse impact on other fisheries or the larger marine ecosystem that depends on healthy populations of forage fish as an essential food source.

By protecting these forage species, the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission has taken an important and forward-looking step to conserve the ocean ecosystem and sustain the state’s most treasured marine wildlife, including salmon, steelhead, seabirds, and whales, for generations to come. 

Forage fish conservation
Forage fish conservation
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Oregon Managers Adopt Robust Plan to Protect Forage Fish

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At its September meeting, the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission adopted a Forage Fish Management Plan to protect six broad groups of forage fish species in state-managed marine waters, from the coast to 3 miles into the Pacific Ocean. Commercial fishing of lanternfish, sand lance, saury, silverside, smelt, and several types of squid will be prohibited unless and until science clearly shows that it would not have an adverse effect on existing fisheries or the larger ecosystem.

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