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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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.

A Call to Protect Humble Fish, for Seabirds’ Sake
New York Times
December 22, 2011

By Cornelia Dean

When people talk about the environmental effects of salmon aquaculture, they usually focus on water pollution and the spread of disease to wild fish stocks. But there is another big problem: It takes more than a pound of fish to produce a pound of salmon.

Farmed salmon are usually fed pellets made from ground-up fish like herring. Salmon farms have a prodigious appetite for this food, which has increased fishing pressure on creatures like herring, anchovies, krill and other “forage fish” at the bottom of the food web. Demand for fish oil and fish for the table is also a factor.

Now researchers from around the world are suggesting this pressure must be limited. Their motto is “a third for the birds.”

In other words, they write in Friday’s issue of the journal Science, fisheries managers should make sure that forage fish stocks do not fall below one-third of their historic maximum long-term biomass — the total amount of the fish, by weight.

When stocks fall below that level, the researchers write, breeding rates start to falter for seabirds and possibly for predatory fish and marine mammals as well.

The scientists, from North America, Europe and Africa, say that other studies have linked forage fish abundance to seabird breeding success, but they say their analysis is the first to suggest that one-third of maximum historical abundance is a critical boundary.

The scientists, led by Philippe M. Cury of the Mediterranean and Tropical Halieutic Research Center in Sète, France, studied gulls, kittiwakes, terns, puffins, penguins and other species, in waters off Alaska, New Zealand, Europe, western North America and elsewhere. They said their analysis of data, collected “over multiple decades,” shows that the one-third figure seems to apply regardless of “life history strategies, habitat preferences and population sizes of the seabird species considered.”

They concede that factors like habitat changes, predation on seabirds, interactions among bird species and the birds’ ability to switch to different prey may also play a role. Also, little is known about historic abundance levels of some fish species, making it difficult to define their maximum abundance.

But for most economically important species, “sufficient data to define the threshold” are available, they write.

Read the article in the NY Times.

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