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USA prohibit new forage fisheries
Tuesday, 05 April 2016 17:23

The United State’s National Marine Fisheries Service has prohibited the development of new commercial fisheries for forage, or bait, species in all federal ocean waters offshore Washington, Oregon, and California.

The new regulations are the result of a unanimous decision by the federal Pacific Fishery Management Council to proactively protect forage fish.

The forage fish protected by this action include round and thread herring, mesopelagic fishes like lanternfish, Pacific sand lance, Pacific saury, silversides, Osmerid smelts like eulachon and surf smelt, and most pelagic squids.

Combined, these include hundreds of species that play an important role as prey in the California Current ecosystem.

The final rule prohibits commercial fisheries from targeting these fish and sets limits on the amount that can be incidentally caught in existing fisheries.

The rule does not affect existing forage fish fisheries like Pacific sardine, anchovy or Pacific herring.

Combined with previous decisions to protect krill, this action means the majority of forage fish off the US West Coast are protected from directed commercial fisheries.

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