The Council initiated the Unmanaged Forage Omnibus Amendment in December 2014 to “prohibit the development of new, or expansion of existing, directed fisheries on unmanaged forage species until adequate scientific information is available to promote ecosystem sustainability."
Forage species are small fish and invertebrates that feed on smaller marine organisms such as plankton and are in turn eaten by many species of fish, sea birds, and marine mammals. Forage species play an important role in sustaining the productivity and structure of marine ecosystems by facilitating the transfer of energy from the lowest levels of the food chain to higher levels. The Council initiated this amendment to protect the important ecological role that forage species play in the Mid-Atlantic.
This action will only address species that are not currently managed by the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, the New England Fishery Management Council, or the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.
For more details and background on inception of this action, please see the Unmanaged Forage Public Hearing Document.
Julia Beaty, Fishery Management Specialist - 302-526-5250, firstname.lastname@example.org
Council Approval: At the August 2016 meeting the Council selected preferred alternatives and approved the Unmanaged Forage Omnibus Amendment for submission to the Secretary of Commerce. Click here for more details.
Notice of Availability: On March 28, 2017 NOAA Fisheries published a Notice of Availability for the amendment. The NOA is available HERE.
Proposed Rule: NOAA Fisheries published a proposed rule for the amendment on April 24, 2017.
Final Rule: A final rule for the Unmanaged Forage Omnibus Amendment is scheduled to publish August 28, 2017.
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Documents & Resources
- Unmanaged Forage Species ID Guide, 8/25,2017
- Final Rule: Unmanaged Forage Omnibus Amendment
- Final Environmental Assessment, 8/25/2017
- NMFS letter regarding partial approval of Unmanaged Forage Omnibus Amendment, 6/19/2017
- Proposed Rule, 4/24/2017
- Unmanaged Forage Omnibus Amendment (Including an Environmental Assessment, Regulatory Impact Review, and Regulatory Flexibility Act Analysis), March 2017
- August 2016 Briefing Materials
- Public Hearing Materials, updated 7/5/2016
- Public Hearing Document
- Abbreviated public comment summary
- Full public comment summary
- Pew sign on letter with full list of signatures
- Wildlife Conservation Society visitor petition with full list of signatures
- Wildlife Conservation Society online action alert with full list of signatures
- Poems and drawings submitted by Wildlife Conservation Society - Part 1 / Part 2
- Images of pledge wall submitted by Wildlife Conservation Society
- Council-Approved List of Unmanaged Forage Taxa, updated 4/14/2016
- April 2016 Council Meeting
- February 2016 Council Meeting
- Draft Action Plan, 1/7/2016
- December 2015 Council Meeting:
- October 2015 Council Meeting:
- Scoping Document, 8/25/2015
- June 2015 Council Meeting:
- Memo on possible management alternatives to address motion, April 2015
- Press Release: Mid-Atlantic Council Initiates Action to Protect Unmanaged Forage Species, 12/17/14
- Forage Fish White Paper, November 2014
- Forage Fish Workshop, April 2013
- Papers discussed at December 2015 Council Meeting:
- Fishing amplifies forage fish population collapses, Essington et al (2015)
- Environment drives forage productivity, Szuwalski and Hilborn (2015)
- Essington reply to Szuwalski and Hilborne (2015)
- Pacific Fishery Management Council action to protect unmanaged forage fish
- Little Fish, Big Impact – Pikitich et al., a report of the Lenfest Task Force
- The Global Contribution of Forage Fish - Pikitich et al.
- Impacts of Fishing Low-Trophic Level Species - Smith et al.
- Forage Fish: From Ecosystems to Markets – Alder et al.