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What are forage fish?

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Fishing for herring, anchovy, and other "forage fish" in general should be cut in half globally to account for their critical role as food for larger species, recommends an expert group of marine scientists in a report released today. The Lenfest Forage Fish Task Force conducted the most comprehensive worldwide analysis of the science and management of forage fish populations to date. Its report, “Little Fish, Big Impact: Managing a crucial link in ocean food webs,” concluded that in most ecosystems at least twice as many of these species should be left in the ocean as conventional practice.
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Task Force members Philippe Cury and Ian Boyd are coauthors on a paper in Science showing impacts to seabirds when forage fish are depleted below one-third of their maximum level. > Read More

Dr. Ellen Pikitch, Chair of the task force, gives the keynote talk at a special forage fish session at the American Fisheries Society meeting in Seattle. > Read More

Force member Bob Steneck talks to the New York Times about Maine's "monoculture" of lobsters. > Read More

forage fish

With support from the Lenfest Ocean Program, the Institute for Ocean Conservation Science at Stony Brook University convened the Lenfest Forage Fish Task Force (Task Force), a panel of thirteen preeminent marine and fisheries scientists from around the world. The primary purpose of the Task Force was to provide practical, science-based advice for the management of species known as forage fish, because of their crucial role in marine ecosystems.

Over the last three years, the Task Force undertook a comprehensive examination of the science and management of forage fish populations through workshops, site visits, case studies, and quantitative modeling of marine food webs. On April 3, 2012, the Task Force released their findings in the report, “Little Fish, Big Impact.”

Read the full report.

Appendices

Read a summary of the report.

For additional information, images and video: www.lenfestocean.org/foragefish


Stony Brook University © 2010 Institute for Ocean Conservation Science
Lenfest Ocean Program IOCS