Lenfest Forage Fish Task Force – Managing a crucial link in ocean food webs

by Sabrina I. Pacifici on April 1, 2012

Managing a crucial link in ocean food webs – Summary of a report from the Lenfest Forage Fish Task Force, March 2012

  • “Forage fish are small to medium-sized species that include anchovies, herring, menhaden, and sardines. Direct catch of forage fish makes up more than one-third of the world’s marine fish catch and has contributed to the collapse of some forage fish populations. In the most comprehensive global analysis of forage fish management to date, the Task Force found that conventional management can be risky for forage fish because it does not adequately account for their wide population swings and high catchability. It also fails to capture the critical role of forage fish as food for marine mammals, seabirds, and commercially important fish such as tuna, salmon, and cod. The report recommends cutting catch rates in half in many ecosystems and doubling the minimum biomass of forage fish that must be left in the water, compared to conventional management targets. Even more stringent measures are advised when important biological information is missing.”
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