This initiative, which the Council completed in 2015, focuses on preventing new commercial fishing of forage fish that are currently unmanaged and unfished until the Council can assess the scientific information relating to any proposed fishery and consider impacts to existing fisheries, communities, and the marine ecosystem.
This action recognizes the importance of these forage fish to Council-managed species and the ecosystem as a whole.
Under this initiative, each fishery management plan is amended to designate certain forage species as “ecosystem component” species that are shared between all four of the Council’s fishery management plans.
This initiative led to amendments to the Coastal Pelagic Species fishery management plan (Amendment 15), the Pacific Coast Groundfish fishery management plan (Amendment 25), the Highly Migratory Species plan (Amendment 3), and the Pacific Coast Salmon plan (Amendment 19). It prohibits the development of new directed commercial fisheries for shared ecosystem component species in west coast Federal waters while allowing existing incidental harvest of these species to continue. (See Council Operating Procedure 24 for more information).