Seals, Salmon, and seabirds all depend on forage fish for survival. This is one reason why these tiny fish are a big deal in the Pacific Ocean food web.
Anchovies, sardines and smelt might not be much to look at, but these tiny fish are the major food source for seabirds, marine mammals, and bigger fish like wild salmon and tuna that people love to catch, watch and eat. But forage fish need protection. Worldwide, these little fish are caught in large numbers for industrial purposes such as feeding livestock and farmed fish.
Find out more about forage fish in this episode of "This American Land," filmed around the mouth of the Columbia River and produced in partnership with The Pew Charitable Trusts.