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Lenfest forage fish task force launched
Date:5/29/2009

overlooked for far too long is that forage fish are key players in the ocean's complex food web. Their excessive removal from the oceans threatens to cause a breakdown of a very complex ecosystem in which species are interconnected."

Of the 31.5 million tons of forage fish taken from the world's oceans each year, 90 percent is reduced into fish meal and oil for livestock and aquaculture feeds, according to a recent study co-authored by task force member Dr. Daniel Pauly of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

"The Lenfest Task Force will provide the scientific foundation for managing forage fisheries in a more sustainable way," said Charlotte Hudson, director of the Lenfest Ocean Program. "It will be critically important to implement the experts' recommendations to ensure the long-term health of our oceans."

The task force will develop specific guidelines for managing forage fish using an ecosystem-based approach, which incorporates food web dynamics and environmental factors, and breaks from traditional species-by-species management. These recommendations will be delivered by 2011 to policy makers, managers, and fishery council members.

Task force member Dr. Dee Boersma of the University of Washington, a world expert on penguins, stressed that the repercussions of myopic fisheries management extend much more broadly than one might assume. "Penguins are not the target of fishing operations, but they clearly are suffering the consequences," Boersma said. "These flightless birds spend half their lives underwater, feeding mostly on krill, squid, and small fish. Their survival is directly threatened by excessive forage fishing, and our work will help to ensure that smart management is adopted to safeguard these and other treasured species."

The distinguished Lenfest Forage Fish Task Force includes experts in a wide range of disciplines, including marine ecology, small pelagic fishery populations, marine mam
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Contact: Kathryn Cervino
kathryn.cervino@stonybrook.edu
347-439-1816
Stony Brook University
Source:Eurekalert  

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