The Lenfest Forage Fish Task Force will meet from October 12-14 in Portland, ME to continue developing critical management recommendations for “forage fish,” small prey fish like sardines, anchovies and menhaden that are caught by commercial fisheries on a massive scale, almost always without consideration of their essential role in oceanic food webs.
Chaired by Dr. Ellen K. Pikitch, executive director of the Institute for Ocean Conservation Science at Stony Brook University, the Task Force includes 13 highly respected scientists from around the world. It is the first scientific team to comprehensively address the global management of forage fish, a critical food source for marine mammals, seabirds, and many large fish species. The removal of forage fish by industrial-scale fisheries poses widespread ecosystem ramifications. By late 2010, the Lenfest Task Force (http://oceanconservationscience.org/foragefish) will deliver specific recommendations to policy makers and fishery managers for managing forage fisheries using ecosystem-based management (EBM). EBM incorporates food web dynamics and environmental factors, in contrast to traditional species-by-species management.
“Forage fish are the ‘foundation fish’ of the ocean, and if you erode the foundation, the entire food web can collapse,” said Dr. Pikitch, an internationally recognized fisheries management expert who is also a Professor at Stony Brook University’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences. “Forage fish are being more intensely harvested than ever before,” she said. “They now account for nearly 40 percent of the world’s wild marine fish catch. Current management plans often fail to consider the oceanic predators that need these fish as food to survive.”
Task force members have expertise in a wide variety of disciplines and geographic areas – critical for a comprehensive assessment of this complex issue. Detailed information on each member can be found at http://oceanconservationscience.org/foragefish/task.php.
The Lenfest Forage Fish Task Force is supported by the Lenfest Ocean Program, which sponsors scientific research aimed at forging solutions to challenges facing the global marine environment. The Institute for Ocean Conservation Science at Stony Brook University is dedicated to advancing ocean conservation through science. The Institute transforms real-world policy while pursuing serious science, both of which are essential for ocean health. Visit http://oceanconservationscience.org.FORAGE FISH FAQs:
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