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, or 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 using information known about the ecosystem.