New Analysis Finds Low Anchovy Abundance in California

New Analysis Finds Low Anchovy Abundance in California

New research suggests that the population of California anchovies—a critical food source for ocean wildlife such as whales, salmon, brown pelicans, and sea lions—has dwindled to levels not seen since the early 1950s. The research, funded in part by Pew, was conducted by scientists with the Farallon Institute for Advanced Ecosystem Research in Petaluma, California. The study, currently in press with the journal Fisheries Research, was also recently submitted to the Pacific Fishery Management Council. It concludes, “Although current annual catch levels of a few thousand tons are small by historical standards, current exploitation rates could be high given the low stock abundance, and should be taken under consideration by fishery managers.”

Read the full study (PDF).

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humpback whale
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No Whale Tale: Anchovy Feeding Frenzy Is a Mirage

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Over the past few months, onlookers have flocked to California’s Monterey Bay to watch humpback whales gorge on thick schools of anchovies. Dolphins, seabirds, and bigger fish also congregated in the bay to feed on the large concentration of anchovies clustering near shore.

sydeman on the water
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Ocean Champion: Q&A with Bill Sydeman

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Big changes are affecting Pacific marine ecosystems, from sea lion pups starving on California shores to tropical species such as sunfish surprising fishermen as far north as Alaska.