Apr 7 2012

Let ‘forage fish’ populations double, scientists urge


We appreciate that reporter Tony Barboza differentiated California forage fisheries from the rest of the world.  California’s coastal pelagic forage, or “wetfish” fisheries are recognized by internationally respected scientists as having low impacts on the environment.  


Indeed, California’s wetfish fisheries have one of the lowest harvest rates in the world.  Our visionary ecosystem-based sardine management also was acknowledged by the Lenfest Report.


In addition to low harvest rates, California also has a network of marine reserves, many near key bird rookeries and haul out sites, where fishing is off-limits.  More than 30 percent of traditional squid spawning / fishing grounds are closed in reserve, in addition to weekend closures.  


Ecosystem-based fishery management is the goal of California and federal laws governing our forage stocks.  It’s also important to achieve a balance:  healthy ecosystems and sustainable fishing communities.


Let ‘forage fish’ populations double, scientists urge

Sardines, anchovies and other small, schooling fish are caught in huge numbers, but they’re vulnerable to overfishing, and creatures such as salmon and tuna need them for food, the panel says.

By Tony Barboza, Los Angeles Times

…Still, the U.S. West Coast is ahead of other parts of the world in how it manages some forage fish, scientists on the panel said. The sardine catch, for instance, is subject to stricter monitoring and more conservative limits that could serve as a buffer against future crashes.

California’s most valuable catch, squid, is also considered a forage fish but was not included in the analysis.

The complete article can be viewed on Los Angeles Times.


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