Lenfest Forage Fish Task Force
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Media Coverage

The Ocean’s Unsung Heroes – Hooray for the Little Guys!
August 21, 2013
National Geographic NewsWatch Ocean Views

Don't Hold the Anchovies
June 27, 2013
ONEARTH Blog

The Ten Best Ocean Stories of 2012
December 18, 2012
“Surprising Science” - Smithsonian.com

Big Victory for Little Fish (and the Future of the Oceans)
November 14, 2012
HuffPost Green

Little Fish in a Big Pond
November 1, 2012
The Scientist

Contributions of forage fish worldwide explained
September 11, 2012
FIS

Globally, little forage fish net big profits
September 10, 2012
Futurity

Cutbacks of small fish catches will yield big gains
August 23, 2012
Environmental Industry

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Events

Meeting of Ireland’s National Parliament’s Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine
October 17, 2013
Dublin, Ireland

Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council - Forage Panel Workshop
April 11, 2013
Raleigh, NC

Herring School Workshop
February 5, 2013
Simon Fraser University
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

ICES/PICES
November 13, 2012
Nantes, France

Northeast Fisheries Service
September 12, 2012
Woods Hole, MA

COFI 2012
July 9-13, 2012
Rome, Italy

European Parliament
July 12, 2012
Brussels, Belgium

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News Releases

Expert Task Force Recommends Halving Global Fishing for Crucial Prey Species

Study provides first-time analysis of three distinct contributions of forage fish worldwide

Lenfest Forage Fish Task Force Holds Pivotal Meeting.

Lenfest Forage Fish Task Force travels to Peru and examines largest forage fishery in the world

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The Ocean’s Unsung Heroes – Hooray for the Little Guys!

August 21, 2013
National Geographic NewsWatch Ocean Views

Posted by Neil Hammerschlag of University of Miami in Ocean Views on August 21, 2013

When most people think about ocean creatures, they picture large charismatic species like whales, penguins, polar bears, sharks and turtles. These magnificent animals are the “celebrities” of the oceans and tend to received significant public and scientific attention. In fact, they are even play starring roles in Hollywood movies, such as Happy Feet, Dolphin Tale, Finding Nemo, and March of the Penguins.

However, there are many smaller marine animals that tend to be overshadowed and overlooked, like sardines and anchovies.

These small fishes (termed “forage fish”) are among the most important to the health of the oceans.  In particular, forage fish are important food for the species that we consume as seafood like tunas and swordfish and some of the charismatic animals we love, such as whales and turles.

Small fishes (known as “forage fish”) like the sardines pictured above are the ocean’s unsung heroes. They are important food for tunas, whales, turtles, and seabirds.

Of concern, is that forage fish are being heavily fished. Forage fish are mostly ground up and used for fertilizer, pet food or to feed live-stock. Overfishing of forage fish is a major concern since so many marine animals depend on forage fish for food!

A recent study (Pikitch et al. 2012) set out to evaluate the importance of forage fish as food for bigger fishes, such as tuans and billfish. They also wanted to investigate the importance of forage fish to the global economy.
What the study discovered was remarkable. They found that forage fish contribute $16.9 Billion USD to the global economy. Of that, forage fish are worth $5.6 Billion in of themselves when directly captured and used for fertilizer, pet food etc. However, when left in the water, they are worth $11.3 Billion indirectly as food for big fishes that are economically important, like tunas. The study suggests, therefore, that from a cost-benefit perspective, we should not over-exploit forage fish and leave their populations healthy and robust to serve as food for the big fishes, whales and turtles.

Watch these great video summaries HERE:
To sign a petition to help protect pacific Forage Fish – go HERE:
Information source from Pikitch et al. (2012) and PEW Environmental Initiatives

References:
Pikitch E.K., Rountos, K.J., Essington, T.E., Santora, C., Pauly, D., Watson, R., Sumaila, U.R., Boersma, P.D., Boyd, I.L., Conover, D.O., Cury, P., Heppell, S.S., Houde, E.D., Mangel, M., Plagány, É., Sainsbury, K., Steneck, R.S., Geers, T.M., Gownaris, N., Munch, S.B. 2012. The global contribution of forage fish to marine fisheries and ecosystems. FISH and FISHERIES.