VOICES Ideas and Insight From Explorers
Tag archives for Pacific Fishery Management Council
When most of us think of the ocean, we think big: It covers 71 percent of our planet, dictates our weather, and is home to the tallest mountain and deepest canyon on the planet, as well as the largest animal, the blue whale.
And yet the ocean relies on its smallest inhabitants, from the phytoplankton and zooplankton that underpin the food web to forage fish, species like sardines, herring, and anchovy that are often referred to as baitfish.
In recent years, numbers of some forage fish species have declined dramatically, causing a food shortage for a vast array of marine animals. The Pacific marine ecosystem, including right here in the San Francisco Bay, is already suffering the consequences, with well-publicized accounts of starving sea lion pups and brown pelican breeding failures among the most visible evidence.
The emaciated seven-month-old sea lion pup was cowering in the bushes along the coast north of San Francisco in a driving, cold rain when Sue Hawley gingerly approached. Hawley put on gloves, grabbed a towel, tiptoed toward the brush, and reached in to pull out the scared animal. As she gripped firmly under its flippers,…
Our nation’s West Coast is known worldwide for the rich and iconic marine life that can be found off its shores. In fact, countless tourists travel there every year just for a glimpse of a pod of migrating gray whales or the chance to catch a coho or king salmon in the wild. These…