Protect a Critical Food Source for Native Fish

Forage fish like sardines, anchovies, sandlance and smelt are indispensable parts of the marine ecosystem on the Pacific coast. These tiny fish are food for a multitude of marine predators such as salmon, steelhead, tuna and seabirds. Additionally, many forage fish return on their spawning runs to Pacific Northwest watersheds where their presence further enriches freshwater foodwebs.
 
Unfortunately, over the past decade unregulated harvest has put some forage fish species at risk and has been associated with declines in salmon, steelhead runs as well as seabirds. To prevent further declines and protect all of the species that depend on forage fish, a coalition of groups, including the Native Fish Society, approached the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC), which sets catch levels on West Coast fish, for increased protections for forage fish.
 
In the past two years, the Council has made significant progress toward providing these protections and will hopefully finalize these actions in spring 2015.  Currently, the Council is accepting public comments for its upcoming September meeting in Spokane, WA.
 
Please take 5 minutes to send in your comments to the PFMC thanking them for their work thus far to protect currently unmanaged forage fish and encourage them to move forward by:

  1. Incorporating unmanaged forage fish as ecosystem component species into each of its existing fishery management plans and;
  2. Setting a limit on the amount of unmanaged forage fish that may be taken in existing fisheries for groundfish and other species.

Your comments ensure that the Council has the public support it needs to take a proactive, ecosystem based approach to the protection of Pacific forage fish and a key food source for all of the fish and wildlife they support. 
 
Comment deadline is September 3, 2014. 

Thank you!
Native Fish Society

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