Lenfest Ocean Program

Supporting Science and Communicating Results

Research Project

Lenfest Forage Fish Task Force

In April 2012, the Lenfest Forage Fish Task Force issued "Little Fish, Big Impact," a comprehensive global analysis of forage fish management to date. The Task Force found that conventional management can be risky for forage fish because it does not adequately account for their wide population swings, high catchability and the importance of spatial management.

The report is a result of the Lenfest Forage Fish Task Force, a group of 13 preeminent scientists formed to provide practical advice on sustainable management of forage species in September 2008. Forage fish, or small schooling fish such as anchovies and sardines, play a critical role in the marine food web as prey for larger fish, seabirds, and marine mammals. Harvest of forage fish for the growing aquaculture and farm animal industries have placed these species under increasing commercial pressure. The Task Force reviewed the literature, conducted new quantitative modeling, and developed specific recommendations that fisheries managers can use to improve the sustainability of forage fisheries, based on the amount of information known about the ecosystem.  

Recent Work

  • New Study Confirms Use of Species-Specific Data to Manage Forage Fish

    A new paper published in the journal Fisheries Research reflects a key recommendation from the Lenfest Forage Fish Task Force report, “Little Fish, Big Impact: Managing a Crucial Link in Ocean Food Webs.” Specifically, both studies recommend that models tailored for individual species and ecosystems should be applied to guide fisheries management. Read More

  • Managing Forage Fish — Recommendations from the Lenfest Task Force

    The Lenfest Forage Fish Task Force, a group of thirteen preeminent scientists with expertise in a wide range of disciplines, conducted a comprehensive examination of the science and management of forage fish populations. Forage fish are small, schooling fish. They play a crucial link in ocean food webs because they eat tiny plants and animals, called plankton, and are preyed upon by animals such... Read More

  • Resumen: Pequenos Peces, Gran Impacto

    Según el informe “Pequeños peces, gran impacto” de abril de 2012, los administradores de la industria pesquera deberían prestar más atención a la especial vulnerabilidad de los peces forrajeros y a los efectos en cadena que produce la pesca de estas especies sobre sus predadores. Este informe fue elaborado por Lenfest Forage Fish Task Force, un grupo que reúne a 13 científicos expertos en la... Read More

Media Contact

Elizabeth Striano

Officer, Communications

202.540.6837