To have healthy sportfish populations, there first must be a healthy food base. Simply put, big fish need plenty of little fish to eat.
The smaller fish in the ocean, known as forage fish, provide food for nearly all recreationally important fish species, as well as seabirds and other marine life. Demand for these nutrient-rich species — which are used to make fertilizer, feed for livestock and farmed fish, and products such as cosmetics — continues to skyrocket worldwide.
Thankfully, a new bill just introduced in Congress will help to ensure forage fish get the protection they deserve.
The Forage Fish Conservation Act would require that the critical role species like herring, sardines, shad and anchovies play in the marine ecosystem be accounted for when federal fisheries managers set catch limits on them.
The important relationship between healthy forage fish populations and heathy sportfish populations has long been established. Forage fish provide food for nearly all recreationally important fish species, as well as seabirds and other marine life. Before allowing harvest on any currently unmanaged forage species, the new bill would require predator needs to be accounted for.
Ask your Senators to cosponsor this bipartisan bill today.