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6. Who benefits from forage fish fisheries?

Although forage fish account for more than 70 percent of all marine finfish landed in the United States annually, by weight, they represent less than 30 percent of the total value of commercial landings nationally. 1 This is because the major forage fish fisheries are typically low-value operations, often worth only pennies on the pound off the boat. Industrial-scale forage fish fisheries require vast amounts of fish to make a profit, and they are dominated by a handful of corporate fishing and processing companies.

The Alaska pollock and Pacific hake fisheries are dominated by multinational trawl fishing and processing companies headquartered in Seattle, Washington, Japan and Europe. The Gulf of Mexico menhaden fishery � second largest fishery by weight in the United States � is dominated by a single company.2 In all these fisheries, the numbers of fishing vessels involved represent a miniscule fraction of America�s fishing fleets.

1 Fisheries of the United States 2005. U.S. DOC/NOAA/NMFS, Silver Spring, Maryland, February 2007.
2 Douglas S. Vaughan, Kyle W. Shertzer, Joseph W. Smith. Gulf menhaden (Brevoortia patronus) in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico: Fishery Characteristics and Biological Reference Points for Management. Fisheries Research 83(2007): 263-275.

Copyright � Marine Fish Conservation Network. All Rights Reserved 2007

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