Praise New Protections for Forage Fish

sardines_by_jacob_davies

Target: Eileen Sobeck, Assistant Administrator for the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service

Goal: Praise decision to make the development of new fisheries for forage fish illegal.

A new rule was recently established that prohibits the development of new commercial fisheries for forage fish, or essential food fish relied on by much of the ecosystem. The ban will only be lifted once scientists determine that additional fishing activities will have no harmful impact on the greater marine ecosystem. This will protect hundreds of species of forage fish from large-scale collapse.

Small fish like sardines have been dying off in massive amounts, and need to be protected from overfishing. Commercial sardine fishing has been shut down on the U.S. West Coast for the second year in a row, yet the population of bait fish continues to decline. According to the National Marine Fisheries Service, their numbers have dropped over 30 percent since last year. Forage fish are already threatened by warming water temperatures due to climate change, and overfishing has become a growing problem due to increased demand for forage species as feed for livestock and fish farming industries.

Forage fish are an essential part of the marine food web, serving as food for birds and larger fish species, and it is vitally important that they stay alive to maintain the ecosystem. The National Marine Fisheries Service’s new protective rule has been backed by environmentalists as well as fishermen, and will make a huge difference in protecting these species from dying out. Sign the petition below to applaud the new rule and urge the continued protection of forage fish.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Ms. Sobeck,

Thanks to a new rule established by the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service, the development of new commercial fisheries for forage fish will be prohibited until scientists determine that additional fishing will have no harmful impact on the marine ecosystem. This rule will play a vital role in protecting hundreds of species of forage fish from large-scale collapse.

Forage fish are extremely important to the marine food web as they provide sustenance for birds and larger fish species, yet their numbers have been rapidly declining due to warming water temperatures and overfishing. Commercial sardine fishing has been shut down on the West Coast for the second year in a row, yet the species’ population continues to decline at an alarming rate. Forage fish are in high demand as feed for livestock and fish farming industries, and these species need to be protected from overfishing to keep the population decline from getting even worse.

We, the undersigned, applaud your decision to prohibit the development of new fisheries for forage fish, and would like to thank you for your efforts to protect these species. Please continue to take action against overfishing, and ensure that these fish have a chance to replenish their numbers.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Jacob Davies

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One Comment

  1. awesome for the forage fish.

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