The Pacific Fishery Management Council has declared its intent to improve protection of forage fish as its inaugural initiative under its newly proposed Fishery Ecosystem Plan. The proposal was released for public comment on Feb. 14.
"We're encouraged to see West Coast fishery leaders signal their intent to account for the critical role that forage species play in sustaining a vibrant Pacific marine food web that supports seabirds, whales, and bigger fish like salmon, tuna, and ling cod," said Paul Shively, who manages Pew's efforts to conserve forage fish on the Pacific coast. "Now it's important for the council to follow through and adopt this fishery ecosystem plan in April, so that it can move ahead with firm protections for these fish that form the cornerstone of a productive ocean ecosystem."
The Pacific Fishery Management Council oversees fishing in federal waters from three to 200 miles off the coast of California, Oregon, and Washington. It has been working on developing an ecosystem plan since 2009.
Read the full report and watch an animation about how forage fish keep the ocean healthy at Pew's Environmental Initiatives website.