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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

11/03/2015: US Pacific Fishery council moves to protect forage fish

A US government agency that manages West Coast fisheries approved a prohibition on Tuesday on fishing seven categories of forage fish in a groundbreaking decision that signals a shift toward an ecosystem-based management, Reuters reports.

A range of ocean wildlife from whales and sea lions to commercially critical salmon and threatened seabirds depend for survival on tiny so-called forage fish that serve as a food source.
 

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2015/03/10/us-usa-fisheries-pacific-idUKKBN0M629520150310

“This forage base is critical both for ecosystem function and for protecting the fisheries that we manage,” said Pacific Fishery Management Council councilwoman Caren Braby, who moved to approve the restriction.

The council, meeting in Vancouver, Washington, voted unanimously to protect forage fish including round and thread herring, lanternfish, sand lance, saury, silverside, smelt, and several types of squid.

The ban by the council, which has jurisdiction off the Pacific coastlines of Washington state, Oregon and California, does not affect any existing fisheries or incidental catches.

With an increasing global need for fish and livestock feed, proponents of the ban feared these unmanaged forage fish could be targeted for commercial fishing as they are in other regions.

Forage fish account for over a third of all marine fish harvested and brought to land by fishermen globally, with 90 percent turned into fishmeal or oil, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts on the US West Coast.

Conservationists said the decision, which drew broad support from environmentalists and sport and commercial fishermen alike, builds on a 2006 vote to ban krill fishing.


Read more HERE.

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