West Coast Forage Fish Protections Mean Big Things for Seabirds

After more than three years of hard work, Audubon Society of Portland and our partners, including Pew Charitable Trusts, Audubon California, Oceana, and Audubon Washington, have secured a huge win for forage fish species.

As of May 4, 2016, dozens of forage fish species will gain federal protection under a new rule from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The rule bans fishing on species like Pacific Sandlance, several types of smelt, herring, and squid. The new rule also limits allowable bycatch of these species in existing fisheries. These forage fish had slipped through the cracks of existing fishery management plans and were left unprotected in federal waters (3-200 miles off the coast).

Seabirds that frequent federal waters off of Oregon, such as the Sooty Shearwater and species of conservation concern including the Black-footed Albatross and Pink-footed Shearwater, depend on these species for survival…

(read more: Portland Audubon)

photographs by NOAA: Black-footed Albatross and Sooty Shearwater