If you follow news about the Monterey Bay, you’ve undoubtedly heard the recent outcry by environmentalists in the media claiming the anchovy population in California has collapsed and the fishery must be closed immediately.

The current controversy stems largely from a study funded by environmental interests that claims an apocalyptic decline of 99 percent of the anchovy population from 1951 to 2011.

However, fishermen have seen a surge in anchovies in recent years. Data collected at the near shore Southern California Coastal Ocean Observing System stations and other recent surveys also document a big upswing in anchovy numbers. For example, a 2015 NOAA rockfish cruise report found that “catches of [Pacific sardine and northern anchovy] larvae and pelagic juveniles were the highest ever in the core [Monterey Bay to Point Reyes] and north and still relatively high in the south.” Yet the recent study bases its conclusion on outdated historic anchovy egg and larval samples, not recent observation.

Outdated data didn’t stop extremists from seizing on the study to manufacture an anti-fishing crisis for anchovy where none exists. They’re now lobbying the Pacific Fishery Management Council for an emergency closure of the small anchovy fishery in Monterey Bay, saying the current anchovy catch limit of 25,000 metric tons is dangerously high.

Read the full story at Santa Cruz Sentinel >>

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