If you’ve ever seen a bait ball, or a feeder fish spawn along the West Coast, you know what enormous numbers there can be of fish like eulachon, saury, and sand lance. That abundance makes them the main food source for the next level of predatory fish, and necessary for maintaining healthy salmon populations, as well as marine animals farther up the food chain, like endangered orcas and Stellar’s sea lions, and a wide variety of sea birds. Because of this, National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has updated laws to prevent new commercial fisheries for feeder fish species that are not targeted now, unless they can show it won’t have an ecological impact to the food chain. In 2009, in a ruling with a similar purpose, they banned commercial krill fishing in the same region, due to the mounting evidence that it was damaging plankton-eating whale populations and feeder fish communities. Continue reading Feeder Fish Commercial Development Banned→
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