The Beacon

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California Assembly Protects Forage Fish

humpback whales

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.


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