By Founder and President Kurt Lieber
The Pacific Management Fishery Council (PMFC) made a decision last month that will have a positive ripple effect up and down the marine food chain.
They banned commercial fishing for "forage fish" all along our Pacific coast.
This category represents hundreds of species of small fish that are the very foundation of the web of life for a lot of ocean wildlife; forage fish are food for sea birds, salmon, dolphins, sea lions, and whales. These fish fall into seven broad categories: Pacific saury, Silversides, round and thread herring, Pacific sand lance, Osmerid smelts, mesopelagic fishes and pelagic squids.
This is a new (and LONG overdue) holistic approach to how our fisheries should be managed. Although there currently is no commercial fishery for these fish yet, there are in other countries where fishermen catch them in massive numbers, grind them into fishmeal that they then feed to farmed animals or turn it into fish oil for human consumption.
What is very encouraging about this decision is that even the commercial fishermen signed onto this agreement. If there is any hope to save our marine wildlife, we have to use the precautionary approach. We advocate the method of first understanding how the entire ecosystem works, and then base decisions on science, not politics.
We here at ODA applaud this new approach! To learn more: http://www.montereyherald.com/environment-and-nature/20150310/feds-move-to-protect-tiny-ocean-fish