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Mid-Atlantic council set to take final action on forage fish omnibus amendment

DOVER, DE – In August, the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council is on schedule to adopt preferred alternatives for an Unmanaged Forage Fish Omnibus Amendment, the first on the East Coast, and only the second in the nation.

The effort stems from the Mid-Atlantic council’s 2014-2018 strategic plan’s ecosystem planning component.

The goal of the Unmanaged Forage Fish Omnibus Amendment is to prohibit the development of new fisheries and expansion of existing directed fisheries on unmanaged forage species until the Mid-Atlantic council has had an opportunity to assess the scientific information and consider the impacts to the fisheries, fishing communities, and the ecosystem.  The amendment would apply only to the federal waters of the Mid-Atlantic council’s jurisdiction.

Forage fish are characterized as small- to moderate-sized fish and invertebrates that make up a considerable portion of predators diets.  Forage fish typically school, are preyed upon by other species throughout their lifespan, have a high natural mortality rate, and  are an important conduit of energy and biomass to higher trophic species.

As proposed, the omnibus amendment would treat all but one of the species under consideration as ecosystem components (EC) of existing fishery management plans.  Under the Magnuson Stevens…

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