Let's protect our forage fish and their habitats

Take the pledge, join others who believe that forage fish and their habitats need better protection

I BELIEVE that forage fish species, such as menhaden, sardines, anchovies, herring, scad, ballyhoo, and pinfish are critically important to the health of Florida’s marine food webs.

I SUPPORT measures that will protect this important prey base for species such as snook, tarpon, redfish, spotted sea trout, sailfish, king mackerel, cobia, dolphinfish, coastal birds, and other marine species that support jobs, revenue, and recreational opportunities in Florida.

I URGE the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to adopt new measures to help maintain and enhance Florida’s legacy as the Fishing Capital of the World.

These measures include:

  • Accounting for the dietary needs of snook, tarpon, redfish, spotted sea trout, sailfish, king mackerel, cobia, dolphinfish, and coastal birds and wildlife during the expansion of current forage fisheries or the development of new forage fisheries.
  • Ensure sufficient abundance, variety, and sizes of forage species to meet the food needs of predators and explicitly account for them when setting forage fishing rules.
  • Protect forage fish habitats—such as mangroves, sea grasses, estuaries, rivers, and bays—including their water quantity and quality.
Small in size but mighty in their impact, forage fish are key drivers of healthy oceans and a robust economy. – Dr. Ellen Pikitch, Institute for Ocean Conservation Science, Stony Brook University
“During my tenure at the FWC, conservation of Florida’s sport fish like tarpon, snook, and redfish were top priorities. I’m happy to say those species and many others are thriving today because of sound science-based management. As we look towards the challenges of Florida’s future, those same management principles need to be applied to the forage fish that are food for our sport fish so that we keep Florida’s reputation as the ‘Fishing Capital of the World’ as well.” – Ken Wright, Former FWC Chair

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What can be done to protect forage fish in Florida?

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has a solid history of properly managing fisheries, especially recreationally important species. The FWC has the ability to take their progressive management approach and apply it to forage species. Specifically, FWC can:

  • Ensure sufficient abundance, variety, and sizes of forage species to meet the food needs of predators and explicitly account for them when setting forage fishing rules.
  • Require essential scientific data about forage species to guide expansion of existing forage fishing operations and development of new industries that target these species.
  • Protect forage fish habitats—such as mangroves, sea grasses, estuaries, rivers, and bays—including their water quantity and quality.

Take the pledge now!

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