Fish council faces big decision on little swimmers

The Pacific Fishery Management Council plans to vote on a measure that could dramatically shape the Ocean's ecosystem in coming years.

The group, which meets in Portland April 9, plans to vote whether to adopt an ecosystem plan that provides guidance for future fishery management decisions. The group Wild Oceans, a pro-environment angling organization, is touting the vote as a critical event because it would designated whether the Council backs traditional fishery plans as opposed to ecosystem-based management.

The difference, according to Wild Oceans, is that traditional fishery plans manage fish species as if they are isolated from one another. Wild Oceans backs the other system in which forage fish are nurtured and protected.

Forage fish help conserve the predator fishes and the commercial and recreational fisheries that depend on them, said Ken Hinman, Wild Oceans president.

The Council begins meeting Friday to discuss a wide range of issues related to salmon, Pacific halibut, groundfish and coastal pelagic species, along with the ecosystem-based management proposal. The meetings will end April 11.


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