Fishing the Food Web

Jack_mackerel_schoolSARDINES, MACKEREL AND OTHER “FORAGE FISH” are more valuable as food for larger species such as cod and tuna than as a commercial catch in their own right. In 2012, an international panel recommended that harvest limits should “be more conservative than those for other species,” says Oregon State fish biologist Selina Heppell, a member of the Lenfest Forage Fish Task Force and the Pacific Fishery Management Council. “Forage fish need to fulfill their primary role as food for predators in the system,” she adds. Research is needed to set harvest limits that meet the needs of larger species.