Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

First-time analysis of three distinct contributions of forage fish

Date:
September 10, 2012
Source:
Stony Brook University
Summary:
A new study provides a first-time analysis of the value of forage fish, which are small, schooling species such as sardines, herring, and anchovies. Three kinds of contributions of forage fish were estimated: as direct catch, as food for other commercially important fish, and as an important link in the food web in marine ecosystems.

In 75 percent of the ecosystem models analyzed for this study, at least one of the highly dependent predator species of forage fish, such as seabirds and marine mammals, depended on forage fish for half or more of its diet.
Credit: NOAA

A recently published study provides a first-time analysis of the value of forage fish, which are small, schooling species such as sardines, herring, and anchovies. Three kinds of contributions of forage fish were estimated: as direct catch, as food for other commercially important fish, and as an important link in the food web in marine ecosystems. The analysis showed these small fish contribute a total of $16.9 billion, as both direct catch and food for larger fish, to global fisheries annually, representing 20 percent of the global catch values of all marine fisheries combined.

Related Articles


Additionally, the scientists found in 75 percent of the ecosystem models analyzed, at least one of the highly dependent predator species of forage fish, such as seabirds, marine mammals, depended on these fish for half or more of its diet, and in 30 percent of the models analyzed, forage fish made up three-quarters of the diet for at least one predator species.

A team of scientists led by the Institute for Conservation Science at Stony Brook University examined these contributions of forage fish through a compilation and synthesis of 72 published Ecopath models from around the world. Ecopath models are a type of food web model that can be used to estimate the direction and strength of interactions among species within an ecosystem. This analysis identified ecosystems that are likely to have highly to extremely dependent forage fish predators, which may assist in ecosystem-based management efforts that consider both commercial fisheries and effects to threatened or endangered species.

"In addition to their value to commercial fishing and other industries that depend on them for their products, forage fish play valuable roles in global ecosystems while they are still in the water," said Dr. Ellen K. Pikitch, co-lead author and executive director of the Institute for Ocean Conservation Science and professor at Stony Brook University. "By quantifying the overall contributions forage fish make globally to both economies and ecosystems, we can evaluate the trade-offs of various uses of forage fish."

"The global contribution of forage fish to marine fisheries and ecosystems," recently published online in the journal FISH and FISHERIES, synthesized data obtained from multiple independent studies of marine ecosystems around the world that include forage fish. This research was supported by a grant from the Lenfest Ocean Program, and the research was conducted under the auspices of the Lenfest Forage Fish Task Force.

The analysis showed the value of the direct catch of forage fish is $5.6 billion. The highest forage fish catches were found in the Humboldt Current models where the Peruvian anchoveta fishery operates. The value of fisheries that are supported by forage fish is twice that of the direct catch at $11.3 billion. The dollar amount of the contributions of forage fish to industries such as tourism and recreational fishing were not estimated for this study, and would increase the estimated economic value of the fish as prey species.

"Most previous economic studies of forage fish have focused primarily on their role as a directly harvested commodity," said Konstantine J. Rountos, co-lead author and Ph.D. student at the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook University. "By including an analysis of the indirect value these fish provide as prey species, this study provides data to policy makers, fishery managers, and others when making decisions about the harvest of these fish."

"Considering the ecological roles and support services provided by forage fish in addition to their economic value can result in a win-win situation for both fisheries and ecosystems," said Dr. Pikitch. "This approach can result in sustainable populations of both forage fish and the larger fish that depend on them, as well as oceans teeming with a healthy balance of marine life."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Stony Brook University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ellen K Pikitch, Konstantine J Rountos, Timothy E Essington, Christine Santora, Daniel Pauly, Reg Watson, Ussif R Sumaila, P Dee Boersma, Ian L Boyd, David O Conover, Philippe Cury, Selina S Heppell, Edward D Houde, Marc Mangel, Ιva Plagαnyi, Keith Sainsbury, Robert S Steneck, Tess M Geers, Natasha Gownaris, Stephan B Munch. The global contribution of forage fish to marine fisheries and ecosystems. Fish and Fisheries, 2012; DOI: 10.1111/faf.12004

Cite This Page:

Stony Brook University. "First-time analysis of three distinct contributions of forage fish." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 September 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120910173409.htm>.
Stony Brook University. (2012, September 10). First-time analysis of three distinct contributions of forage fish. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120910173409.htm
Stony Brook University. "First-time analysis of three distinct contributions of forage fish." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120910173409.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) — Miniature deep sea animals discovered off the Australian coast almost three decades ago are puzzling scientists, who say the organisms have proved impossible to categorise. Academics at the Natural History of Denmark have appealed to the world scientific community for help, saying that further information on Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides could answer key evolutionary questions. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 23, 2014) — Price check on honey? Bear cub startles Oregon drugstore shoppers. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

AFP (Oct. 23, 2014) — One man is on a mission to boost the population of wolves in China's violence-wracked far west. The animal - symbol of the Uighur minority there - is under threat with a massive human resettlement program in the region. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) — Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins