WASHINGTON (Saving Seafood) May 7, 2014 -- In a recent article, "The ABCs of Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management-Part II," the Pew Charitable Trusts' Director of Federal Fisheries Policy and National Geographic online guest writer, Lee Crockett, focuses on the management of "forage fish" -- a much used, though highly debated categorization for a number of small, marine species. The article's title suggests that management of forage species is as simple as learning the alphabet, but in reality that is far from the case. Fisheries management is a highly complex process, and fisheries managers have stated that much remains to be studied and understood before ecosystem-based management can work for every species.
The term "forage fish" simply describes a number of tiny fish and invertebrates that share a similar niche in the marine food web (they are often "foraged" upon by larger predators). The range of included species is broad, and their differences are diverse. Targeted stocks like shrimp, squid, herring, and menhaden can all be classified as "forage" species, as can non-targeted species like jellyfish, bay anchovy, sand lance, and sea worms. These species have a variety of biological differences, and don't have much in common outside of their trophic level. So while the term may seem convenient, all species labeled "forage fish" cannot be successfully lumped and managed in the same way, as Pew and a number of environmental groups often suggest. An example of this flaw can be found in the calculations Mr. Crockett cites from the Lenfest Forage Fish Task Force. The Lenfest analyses are based around the assumption that the various "forage species" can be managed under the same broad guidelines. However, there are a significant number of different variables -- including fecundity, spawning periods, migration, predator-prey relationships, and habitat -- that must be considered to properly manage these species and are more relevant than their shared trophic role.
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National Fisherman Live: 1/13/15
In this episode:
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North Pacific observer program altered for 2015
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National Fisherman Live: 12/30/14
In this episode, Michael Crowley, National Fisherman's Boats & Gear editor, interviews Chelsea Woodward, an engineer working with the NIOSH Alaska Pacific Office to design static guards for main drum winches used in the side trawl fishery in the Gulf of Mexico.
The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute is still seeking public review and comment on the Alaska Responsible Fisheries Management Conformance Criteria (Version 1.2, September 2011). The public review and comment period, which opened on Dec. 3, 2014, runs through Monday, Feb. 3.
NOAA, in consultation with the Department of the Interior, has appointed 10 new members to the Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee. The 20-member committee is composed of individuals with diverse backgrounds and experience who advise the departments of commerce and the interior on ways to strengthen and connect the nation's MPA programs. The new members join the 10 continuing members appointed in 2012.