The Blog Aquatic » fish and game commission http://blog.oceanconservancy.org News, opinions, photos and facts from Ocean Conservancy Thu, 14 Aug 2014 17:21:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 Leadership in a Time of National Division http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2012/11/07/leadership-in-a-time-of-national-division/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2012/11/07/leadership-in-a-time-of-national-division/#comments Thu, 08 Nov 2012 00:34:51 +0000 George Leonard http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=3462

Credit: George H. Leonard

After a year-long campaign, the voters have spoken and President Obama will lead the country for another four years. But while the Electoral College was decisive, the popular vote was essentially split; as a group, the American people remain deeply divided over many critical issues facing our nation – from health care to national defense.

This week, while national attention has been focused on politics at the highest level, fishery managers along the west coast quietly demonstrated unity and leadership by voting to advance important protections for forage fish – the small and often forgotten fish that form the base of the ocean food web.

Why is this such a big deal? Because as in politics, fisheries management is often divisive and making progress requires leadership. When our officials take important steps to better protect the ocean we should give credit where credit is due.

Today, the California Fish and Game Commission and yesterday, members of the Pacific Fishery Management Council, signaled commitments to policies that will help ensure enough forage fish remain in the ocean for the many predators, like whales, dolphins and seabirds, which are dependent upon them. When fully implemented through new regulations, these protections in the Pacific could be a model for the nation and an important first step in moving toward comprehensive ecosystem-based fishery management. That has my community – the conservation community- celebrating.

But it’s not just conservationists applauding the forward thinking leadership on forage fish. This week’s pair of votes shows that a genuine consensus has emerged that “little fish” have tremendous value to people as well as bigger fish, supporting fisheries and ocean related jobs that provide over $20 billion worth of economic activity throughout the region. That is why groups voicing support for forage fish protections included seafood businesses, tourism operators like whale watching boats, recreational anglers, commercial fishermen, as well as conservation organizations up and down the coast.

In fact, California’s new policy was crafted by fishing and conservation interests (including Ocean Conservancy) working collaboratively, based on their shared interest in ensuring a healthy and productive ocean for all. But don’t get me wrong; there is more work to be done, including finalizing these commitments and getting them implemented in the water.

Resolving the differences that will likely emerge during these processes won’t be easy.  But like crossing the political aisle, when leaders put aside differences and seek common ground, progress can be made. In the long run, a healthy ocean depends on having more examples of the kind of leadership displayed by fishery managers this week on forage fish.

Our nation’s elected officials could learn a thing or two from those on the west coast who care about forage fish. There are benefits to working together.

Indeed, leadership matters.

]]>
http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2012/11/07/leadership-in-a-time-of-national-division/feed/ 18
Forage Fish: The Tiny Fish That Support Our Entire Ocean http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2012/10/23/forage-fish-the-tiny-fish-that-support-our-entire-ocean/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2012/10/23/forage-fish-the-tiny-fish-that-support-our-entire-ocean/#comments Tue, 23 Oct 2012 22:50:50 +0000 Guest Blogger http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=3320 California’s Fish & Game Commission is considering making big changes to better protect some of the ocean’s smallest fish.

If you live in California, you can help us protect these vitally important fish. For the sake of our ocean, we must ensure these improvements get passed.

Known as “forage fish,” small schooling fish like sardines, anchovies and herring — play a crucial role in the ocean food web and in our overall economic well being.

Need proof? Look toward the seabirds, who suffer a drop in birth rates when forage fish populations drop too low. Look toward marine mammals like humpback whales, which weigh around 40 tons yet rely almost completely on forage fish to survive. Or ask the fishermen—commercial and recreational fishermen agree that big fish need little fish. The fish we like to catch and eat, like salmon, tuna and rockfish, all feed on forage fish.

Current regulations typically don’t recognize the value of forage species as a crucial food source for top predators—and we need all our Californian supporters to help us change that.

The California Fish and Game Commission meets on Nov. 7 to consider adopting a formal state policy recognizing the importance of forage fish. This policy was crafted collaboratively by conservation groups and the fishing industry, and is a significant step toward helping our ocean.

If you live in California, please take action and help ensure the Commission adopts this important policy.

Thank you for your continued support and for helping to make this historic step for our ocean possible.

]]>
http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2012/10/23/forage-fish-the-tiny-fish-that-support-our-entire-ocean/feed/ 3