2011 Forage Fish Needs Assessment Workshop

In January 2011, SeaDoc and the Northwest Straits Commission facilitated a meeting of 25 scientists and managers working on forage fish issues on both sides of the US/Canada border. 

Sandlance eggs (WA Ecology)
Sandlance eggs (WA Ecology)

Forage fish are the small, energy-dense schooling fishes that feed other fish, birds and mammals in the Salish Sea. Some of these species that depend on forage fish are federally listed as endangered or threatened on one or both sides of the border. Unfortunately, there are major gaps in what we know about these important species.

The meeting was held at the Peace Arch Park and focused on sharing knowledge about what is happening relative to forage fish on both sides of the border and on identifying areas where additional research is needed or where information exists but needs to be more effectively communicated to the general public or to policy-makers.

Each participant shared what they're working on in the topic. Experts from each side of the international border described current management practices, and the group worked out a list of current threats, needed science and research, policy/management goals, and education & outreach needs. 

The meeting notes are well worth a read, not only to see the breadth of investigations into the forage fish issue, but to understand how the issue is truly a cross-border concern. 

SeaDoc is the only organization in the Salish Sea with a mandate to bring people and organizations together for discussions about ecosystem health issues. These "strategic convenings" are important for helping create a larger context and framework for the important science being done by individuals and organizations throughout the Salish Sea.