SIGN THE PETITION TO HELP PROTECT PACIFIC FORAGE FISH
Dear Chair Lowman and Council Members,
The Council has made significant headway over the past two years to conserve forage fish as a critical element of our productive Pacific marine ecosystem. My company, Fishpond, inc., designs and manufactures high-quality fly fishing and outdoor gear, and we believe conservation of our salmon and steelhead is a unique shared responsibility. This April, the Council can fulfill its goal of prohibiting new forage fisheries until it can fully evaluate the impact of prey removal on existing fisheries and fishing communities. Not only am I am member of the fishing community, but my business depends on those in the community who enjoy salmon and steelhead in our Western Rivers.
As progress is made to improve freshwater salmon habitat, we must endeavor to protect each part of the lifecycle. We know forage fish are an important food source for mature salmon in the ocean, but they’re also essential to providing cover against a gauntlet of predatory seabirds, harbor seals, and larger fish that will otherwise consume outmigrating salmon and steelhead smolts. Thus, the forage fish population is crucial in determining the proportion of smolts that will return as spawning adult salmon.
The Pacific Fishery Management Council should approve, and release for public comment, a range of alternatives to protect currently unmanaged forage fish. The Council’s Ecosystem Working Group has provided a report justifying your commitment to conserve these forage species because of their importance to the California Current ecosystem. Option 2.2.1 will ensure the Council achieves its goal of basic management protections for unmanaged forage fish, incorporating currently unmanaged forage fish as ecosystem component species within each of its existing fishery management plans, where basic conservation measures can be put in place. In selecting 2.2.1 as a preliminary preferred alternative, you will fulfill the first initiative of the Council’s Fishery Ecosystem Plan the council approved unanimously a year ago.
A healthy Pacific marine ecosystem is an economic driver generating thousands of jobs in the recreational fishing sector along the West Coast and far inland for those who fish for salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon in freshwater. As a business owner and concerned citizen, I, and many of my customers, urge you to fulfill your commitment and promote responsible stewardship of our forage fish resource.
Thank you for your leadership on this important issue.
John Land Le Coq
Founder/CEO Fishpond, inc.