The Beacon

California Assembly Protects Forage Fish

Humpback whales feeding in Monterey Bay. © Richard Fitzer

 Yesterday afternoon, the California Assembly acknowledged the critical role that forage species play in maintaining a healthy marine food web by passing Assembly Bill 1299 (AB 1299), sponsored by Oceana and introduced by Assemblymember Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael).

Forage species, like sardines, herring, and market squid, are truly the “heartbeat” of the ocean forming the foundation of the food web – which in turn benefits everything else that eats these small fish.  

AB 1299 provides a much needed change in the way California manages its fisheries by establishing a state policy that will for the first time consider how much forage should be left in the ocean. This is not just an environmental issue, but largely an economic one; forage species help support California’s recreation and tourism economy, which is worth over $12 billion annually, providing more than 250,000 jobs in the state.

A huge thank you to our Wavemakers for all your support to protect these smaller fish that often go unnoticed. More than 3,700 of you signed the letter of support to your Assemblymembers in preparation for these crucial hearings and your voices were heard loud and clear.

The bill is now headed to the Senate, where this important fight will continue. We’ll be sure to keep you updated as it moves forward and provide additional opportunities to make your voice heard in key upcoming votes. Thanks again for your continued support!

Ashley Blacow is Oceana's Pacific Policy and Communications Coordinator.


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