Tuesday, March 10, 2015

PFMC Forage Fish Initiative Passed!

Well, my friends, everyone who cares about seabirds, sport fishing and healthy oceans should celebrate today.  I received an email from Joe Liebzeit of the Audubon Society of Portland informing me that the efforts of many groups, businesses and individuals, including myself on behalf of The Bird Guide and Oregon Pelagic Tours, have paid off.  The Pacific Fisheries Management Council unanimously passed its initiative for protection for forage fish in our EEC (Exclusive Economic Zone).  The fish and squid species included in this initiative are critical components of a balanced ocean ecosystem, providing food for a variety of sport and commercial fishes, marine mammals, and the seabirds we all love to see. I was asked to prepare testimony and spent much of yesterday afternoon in the Vancouver Hilton hoping to testify before the council. Unfortunately, the Council adjourned before taking public comment. Due to prior commitments, I was unable to return this morning, but along with others hoping to comment, on Monday I did manage to meet the Vice-Chairman and informally share my views. IT is important to note that while this initiative does not provide unlimited protection for forage fish, it does prohibit new fisheries from targeting this fishery, and is historic in that these species had previously been ignored by the PFMC. Definitely a step in the right direction. I thank everyone involved in this process.