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In a 1997 episode of The Simpsons, evil tycoon C. Montgomery Burns claims that, under the tutelage of relentless environmentalist Lisa Simpson, he's become a benefactor of society because he sweeps hundreds of millions of fish from the sea, grind them up, and turns them into "Lil' Lisa's patented animal slurry" - "a high-protein feed for farm animals, insulation for low-income housing, a powerful explosive, and a top-notch engine coolant." "Best of all," he boasts, "it's made from 100 percent recycled animals."

Few viewers would have realized how closely the episode mirrored reality.

H. Bruce Franklin, "Net Losses: Declaring War on the Menhaden," Mother Jones, March/April 2006

Did you know?
From 1992-2003, fishmeal and oil usage in the aquaculture industry grew threefold to nearly 3 million metric tons, mirroring the growth of global finfish and shrimp aquaculture production from 10.9 to 29.8 million metric tons over the same period.

The food supply for carnivorous farmed fish and shrimp comes from wild forage fish, which are reduced to fishmeal and oil and processed into food pellets.

Forage fish are food for other fish and marine life and are often referred to as "fuel for the food web" because without them the oceans could not support large populations of top predator fish such as swordfish, mammals such as whales and dolphins, and seabirds.

It is urgent to conserve forage fish because the boom in aquaculture is putting increased pressure on forage fisheries to increase supply as feedstock for farmed fish, among other uses.

Included in the media section are fact sheets about 7 forage fish species, and backgrounders on the forage fish campaign and the Network.

What is a forage fish?
Forage fish are food for top predator fish, mammals and seabirds. While not all forage fish are strictly fish, they are managed as fish by the National Marine Fisheries Service. Examples of forage fish include: hake, herring, krill, menhaden, Pollock sardine, and squid.

How is forage fish used?
Billions of pounds of fish are processed into fishmeal and fish oil to be used in poultry and livestock feeds, aquaculture feeds, and pet foods. Small quantities are caught and used as bait in commercial crab, lobster and other fisheries and by recreational anglers as chum or live bait for sport fish such as striped bass, bluefish, king mackerel, sharks, and tunas. In many cases forage fish are not sold as human food.

Why is it so urgent to conserve forage fish?
Without explicit measures to protect forage fish, many independent large-scale industrial fisheries remove unprecedented quantities of forage fish that predators simply cannot compete.

What is needed? An ecosystem approach to forage fish management.
Currently there is no framework in the U.S. federal fishery policy to ensure that enough forage fish are available as food for marine predators. The Network is promoting the protection of forage fish as a first step towards an ecosystem approach to fisheries management.

Additional FAQ/Info Sheets
Adobe Reader

Introduction to Network Fact Sheet
Forage Fish Background Report
General Forage Fish Fact Sheet
Scientist Sign-On Letter to Conserve Forage Fish
Atlantic Herring Fact Sheet
Hake Fact Sheet
Krill Fact Sheet
Menhaden Fact Sheet
Pacific Sardine Fact Sheet
Pollock Fact Sheet
Squid Fact Sheet

Copyright @ Marine Fish Conservation Network. All Rights Reserved 2007

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