Legislation Protects Seabirds’ Favorite Food
Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) re-introduced the Forage Fish Conservation Act, which will help protect forage fish like herring, that serve as the primary food source for seabirds, larger fish, and other marine life. This bill will amend the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, to recognize the important role these fish serve in the ecosystem.
“This legislation will build on more than 40 years of successful fisheries management to include small schooling fish known as forage fish, a primary food source for seabirds like Common Murres and Atlantic Puffins,” said Jessica Grannis, interim vice president for coastal conservation at the National Audubon Society. “We are encouraged to see Congress working across the aisle to protect these little but important fish and to help seabirds recover from decades of decline.”
Seabirds are in crisis, their populations have dropped by 70% since 1950, due to threats like overfishing and climate change. The forage fish they rely on are not adequately included in our federal fisheries management. Forage fish are harvested commercially and ground up to produce fertilizer, cosmetics, and fish meal. Without proper management, they face a risk of being overfished, meaning less food for seabirds and other marine life. The House bill saw overwhelming bipartisan support from House members as well as a variety of organizations like Audubon, National Wildlife Federation, and Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership.