Forage fish off West Coast get new protection from commercial fishing – Seattle Times

More protections go into place. Why? Because the fisheries are continuing to fall, and we are trying to protect what’s left from total destruction. There is no good reason to wipe out the food chain for salmon and other species in order to feed our pets and livestock.

A federal rule published Monday prohibits West Coast commercial fishermen from targeting eight types of forage fish that help support the broader maritime food chain. Forage fish are pursued in areas of the world where they may be put into feed products for aquaculture, livestock and pet food. This rule intends to preclude such harvests in the 200-mile federal zone off Oregon, Washington and California, so long as there is not enough science to assess the impacts of catching these fish on the marine ecosystem. The rule applies to round herring, thread herring, Pacific sand lances, Pacific saury, silversides and certain kinds of smelts and pelagic squids. Some of these species may currently be caught accidentally, as bycatch, by commercial fishermen, but there are no harvests that specifically target them. All of the species help sustain marine mammals, birds and other fish populations. Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times)

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