Protecting Ocean Ecosystems

Forage Fish: The Oceans’ Little Heroes

A striped bass chasing menhaden. Image credit: Pew Charitable Trusts

Species such as herring, menhaden, and sardines—commonly known as forage fish—make up the menu for much of the wildlife in our ocean. These schooling fish eat tiny plants and animals near the ocean’s surface. In turn, they are eaten by a host of other animals—including larger fish, seabirds, and whales—making them a vital part of the marine food web.

Protecting Ocean Ecosystems

Herring Rally in Rivers but Still Suffer at Sea

Silhouette of an alewife swimming through a fish passage on Long Island.

On April 6, on Long Island, a video monitor in a special chute of water called a fish passage captured a brief but historic image: the silhouette of an alewife swimming through from the Carlls River to Argyle Lake. A dam built near the near the town of Babylon, NY, had prevented these fish from reaching spawning areas upstream since the 1800s. The little alewife in this picture was the first to swim that route in more than 100 years.

In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, April 18

NOAA released new proposed rules for spiny dogfish this week. Photo: NOAA/Wikimedia Commons

In this week’s Fish Talk in the News, Captain John McMurray says the Hastings MSA draft “is really awful”; a second MSA discussion draft circulates; federal and state lawmakers work to combat seafood fraud; DMF warns boaters to look out for right whales in Cape Cod Bay; new research suggests acidification could cause fish to lose their fear of predators; traps can help eels pass dams on the Byram River; the elver season starts with small catches and low prices; NOAA releases proposed dogfish rules; a British fisheries consultant says fishermen can adapt to offshore wind.

New England Fisheries

Commonwealth Loses Lawsuit on Lower Catch Limits

Attorney General Martha Coakley announces her lawsuit last May on the Boston Fish Pier.

With a court decision released on April 8 which denied the Commonwealth’s claims, Coakley’s lawsuit has run its predicted course. It’s time to recognize that we need real solutions such as stopping overfishing, protecting habitat, reducing bycatch and improving ocean management.

In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, April 11

New research suggests over 20% of seafood imported by the US is caught illegally. Photo credit: NOAA

In this week’s Fish Talk in the News, a slew of legal decisions on groundfish regulations; new research suggests more than 20% of seafood imported into the US is caught illegally; the Senate ratifies treaties to cut down on pirate fishing; environmental groups sue to expand protected habitat for right whales; ecosystem-based management could help respond to climate change; GMRI and the Bigelow Lab compete for funding for real-time monitoring; scallop fisheries in Maine and Nantucket Bay have a strong year; recovering alewife populations may mean a new fishery, too; Maine’s elver season begins with new regulations; an effort to clean up ghost gear is successful.

The Future of New England Seafood

Fishermen are innovators. And those around them are taking inspiration. Read here about what fishermen and others are doing to help fishing businesses thrive, to create new branding and marketing opportunities for seafood, and to explore unique new ways of conserving New England’s fish populations.

Learn More »

Recent Comments

    11:17 am, April 22, 2014
    Greg DiDomenico says:

    The Author also states "Current threats include marine bycatch, rebounding populations of natural predators, urbanization of coastal watersheds, climate change, and changes to marine ecosystems (ASMFC 2012)."

    More from Herring Rally in Rivers but Still Suffer at Sea

    11:25 am, April 15, 2014
    karl day says:

    mr crockett next week I'll be going to the nefmc meeting in Conn.As an active hand gear b fisherman and recreational fisherman for the last 46 yrs I'm well aware of the dismal condition of the cod stocks.I might add that the pollock stocks also are fading.We have seen far fewer large pollock and far fewer

    More from The Bottom Line: Rebuilding Plans Work for U.S. Fisheries

    1:29 pm, April 11, 2014
    David Showell says:

    In NJ there have been dams for 100s of years and farmers have been using them for fertilizer as much as possible since the days of the American Indians. Now there are a few Striped bass fishermen that would like to use some for bait, but the stocks have absolutely crashed since pair trawlers

    More from Is NOAA studying river herring to death?