Forage fish, also called prey fish or bait fish, are small pelagic
fish which are preyed on by larger predators for food. Predators
include other larger fish, seabirds and marine mammals. Typical ocean
forage fish feed near the base of the food chain on plankton, often by
filter feeding. They include particularly fishes of the family
Clupeidae (herrings, sardines, shad, hilsa, menhaden, anchovies and
sprats), but also other small fish, including halfbeaks, silversides,
smelt such as capelin, and the goldband fusiliers pictured on the
Forage fish compensate for their small size by forming schools. Some
swim in synchronised grids with their mouths open so they can
efficiently filter plankton. These schools can become immense
shoals which move along coastlines and migrate across open oceans. The
shoals are concentrated fuel resources for the great marine predators.
The predators are keenly focused on the shoals, acutely aware of their
numbers and whereabouts, and make migrations themselves that can span
thousands of miles to connect, or stay connected, with them.
The ocean primary producers, mainly contained in plankton, produce
food energy from the sun and are the raw fuel for the ocean food webs.
Forage fish transfer this energy by eating the plankton and becoming
food themselves for the top predators. In this way, forage fish occupy
the central positions in ocean and lake food webs.
The fishing industry catches forage fish primarily for feeding to
farmed animals. Some fisheries scientists are expressing concern that
this will affect the populations of predator fish that depend on
1 In the oceans
Ocean food webs
1.5 Hunting copepods
1.7 Predator attacks
2 Forage fisheries
2.3 Use as animal feed
2.4 Environmental issues
3 In lakes and rivers
4 Bait and feeder fish
6 Recent reports
7 See also
10 External links
In the oceans
Typical ocean forage fish are small, silvery schooling oily fish such
as herring, anchovies and menhaden, and other small, schooling
baitfish like capelin, smelts, sand lance, halfbeaks, pollock,
butterfish and juvenile rockfish. Herrings are a preeminent forage
fish, often marketed as sardines or pilchards.
The term “forage fish” is a term used in fisheries, and is applied
also to forage species that are not true fish, but play a significant
role as prey for predators. Thus invertebrates such as squid and
shrimp are also referred to as "forage fish". Even the tiny
shrimp-like creatures called krill, small enough to be eaten by other
forage fish, yet large enough to eat the same zooplankton as forage
fish, are often classified as "forage fish".
Ocean forage fish
Caribbean reef squid
Forage fish utilise the biomass of copepods, mysids and krill in the
pelagic zone to become the dominant converters of the enormous ocean
production of zooplankton. They are, in turn, central prey items for
higher trophic levels.
Forage fish may have achieved their dominance
because of the way they live in huge, and often extremely fast
Though forage fish are abundant, there are relatively few species.
There are more species of primary producers and apex predators in the
ocean than there are forage fish.
Ocean food webs
Forage fish occupy central positions in the ocean food webs. The
position that a fish occupies in a food web is called its trophic
level (Greek trophē = food). The organisms it eats are at a lower
trophic level, and the organisms that eat it are at a higher trophic
Forage fish occupy middle levels in the food web, serving as a
dominant prey to higher level fish, seabirds and mammals.
Ecological pyramids are graphical representations, along the lines of
the diagram at the right, which show how biomass or productivity
changes at each trophic level in an ecosystem. The first or bottom
level is occupied by primary producers or autotrophs (Greek autos =
self and trophe = food). These are the names given to organisms that
do not feed on other organisms, but produce biomass from inorganic
compounds, mostly by a process of photosynthesis.
In oceans, most primary production is performed by algae. This is a
contrast to land, where most primary production is performed by
Algae ranges from single floating cells to attached
seaweeds, while vascular plants are represented in the ocean by groups
such as the seagrasses. Larger producers, such as seagrasses and
seaweeds, are mostly confined to the littoral zone and shallow waters,
where they attach to the underlying substrate and still be within the
photic zone. Most primary production in the ocean is performed by
microscopic organisms, the phytoplankton.
Thus, in ocean environments, the first bottom trophic level is
occupied principally by phytoplankton, microscopic drifting organisms,
mostly one-celled algae, that float in the sea. Most phytoplankton are
too small to be seen individually with the unaided eye. They can
appear as a green discoloration of the water when they are present in
high enough numbers. Since they increase their biomass mostly through
photosynthesis they live in the sun-lit surface layer (euphotic zone)
of the sea.
Phytoplankton form the base of the ocean foodchain
The most important groups of phytoplankton include the diatoms and
dinoflagellates. Diatoms are especially important in oceans, where
they are estimated to contribute up to 45% of the total ocean's
primary production. Diatoms are usually microscopic, although some
species can reach up to 2 millimetres in length.
The second trophic level (primary consumers) is occupied by
zooplankton which feed off the phytoplankton. Together with the
phytoplankton, they form the base of the food pyramid that supports
most of the world's great fishing grounds.
Zooplankton are tiny
animals found with the phytoplankton in oceanic surface waters, and
include tiny crustaceans, and fish larvae and fry (recently hatched
fish). Most zooplankton are filter feeders, and they use appendages to
strain the phytoplankton in the water. Some larger zooplankton also
feed on smaller zooplankton. Some zooplankton can jump about a bit to
avoid predators, but they can't really swim. Like phytoplankton, they
float with the currents, tides and winds instead. Zooplanktons can
reproduce rapidly, their populations can increase up to thirty percent
a day under favourable conditions. Many live short and productive
lives and reach maturity quickly.
Zooplankton form the second level in the ocean food chain
Tiny shrimp-like crustaceans
Juvenile planktonic squid
Particularly important groups of zooplankton are the copepods and
krill. These are not shown in the images above, but are discussed in
more detail later. Copepods are a group of small crustaceans found in
ocean and freshwater habitats. They are the biggest source of protein
in the sea, and are important prey for forage fish. Krill
constitute the next biggest source of protein.
Krill are particularly
large predator zooplankton which feed on smaller zooplankton. This
means they really belong to the third trophic level, secondary
consumers, along with the forage fish.
Together, phytoplankton and zooplankton make up most of the plankton
in the sea.
Plankton is the term applied to any small drifting
organisms that float in the sea (Greek planktos = wanderer or
drifter). By definition, organisms classified as plankton are unable
to swim against ocean currents; they cannot resist the ambient current
and control their position. In ocean environments, the first two
trophic levels are occupied mainly by plankton.
Plankton are divided
into producers and consumers. The producers are the phytoplankton
(Greek phyton = plant) and the consumers, who eat the phytoplankton,
are the zooplankton (Greek zoon = animal).
Forage fish and the food web
Fishing down marine food webs
Forage fish feed on plankton. When they are eaten by larger predators,
they transfer this energy from the bottom of the food chain to the top
and in this way are the central link between trophic levels.
Forage fish are usually filter feeders, meaning that they feed by
straining suspended matter and food particles from water. They usually
travel in large, slow moving, tightly packed schools with their mouths
open. They are typically omnivorous. Their diet is usually based
primarily on zooplankton, although, since they are omnivorous, they
also take in some phytoplankton.
Young forage fish, such as herring, mostly feed on phytoplankton and
as they mature they start to consume larger organisms. Older herrings
feed on zooplankton, tiny animals that are found in oceanic surface
waters, and fish larvae and fry (recently hatched fish). Copepods and
other tiny crustaceans are common zooplankton eaten by forage fish.
During daylight, many forage fish stay in the safety of deep water,
feeding at the surface only at night when there is less chance of
predation. They swim with their mouths open, filtering plankton from
the water as it passes through their gills.
Ocean halfbeaks are omnivores which feed on algae, plankton, marine
plants like seagrass, invertebrates like pteropods and crustaceans and
smaller fishes. Some tropical species feed on animals during the
day and plants at night, while others alternate summer carnivory with
winter herbivory. They are in turn eaten by billfish, mackerel,
Forage fish are the food that sustains larger predators above them in
the ocean food chain. The superabundance they present in their schools
make them ideal food sources for top predator fish such as tuna,
striped bass, cod, salmon, barracuda and swordfish, as well as sharks,
whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals, sea lions, and seabirds.
Ocean predators of forage fish
See also: Shoaling and schooling
Underwater video loop of a school of herrings migrating at high speed
to their spawning grounds in the Baltic Sea.
Forage fish compensate for their small size by forming schools. These
sometimes immense gatherings fuel the ocean food web. Most forage fish
are pelagic fish, which means they form their schools in open water,
and not on the bottom (benthic fish) or near the bottom (benthopelagic
fish). They are short-lived, and go mostly unnoticed by humans, apart
from an occasional support role in a documentary about a great ocean
predator. While we may not pay them much attention, the great marine
predators are keenly focused on them, acutely aware of their numbers
and whereabouts, and make migrations that can span thousands of miles
to connect with them. After all, forage fish are their food.
Herring are among the most spectacular schooling fish. They aggregate
together in huge numbers. Schools have been measured at over four
cubic kilometres in size, containing about four billion fish.
These schools move along coastlines and traverse the open oceans.
Herring schools in general have very precise arrangements which allow
the school to maintain relatively constant cruising speeds. Herrings
have excellent hearing, and their schools react very fast to a
predator. The herrings keep a certain distance from a moving scuba
diver or cruising predator like a killer whale, forming a vacuole
which can look like a doughnut from a spotter plane. The
intricacies of schooling is far from fully understood, especially the
swimming and feeding energetics. Many hypotheses to explain the
function of schooling have been suggested, such as better orientation,
synchronized hunting, predator confusion and reduced risk of being
found. Schooling also has disadvantages, such as excretion buildup in
the breathing media and oxygen and food depletion. The way the fish
array in the school probably gives energy saving advantages, though
this is controversial.
On calm days, schools of herring can be detected at the surface a mile
away by little waves they form, or from several meters at night when
they trigger bioluminescence in surrounding plankton. Underwater
recordings show herring constantly cruising at high speeds up to
108 cm per second, with much higher escape speeds.
They are fragile fish, and because of their adaptation to schooling
behaviour they are rarely displayed in aquaria. Even with the best
facilities aquaria can offer they become sluggish compared to their
quivering energy in wild schools.
Slow motion video loop of a juvenile herring feeding on copepods.
Copepods are a group of small crustaceans found in ocean and
freshwater habitats. Many species are planktonic (drifting in the
ocean water), while others are benthic (living on the sea floor).
Copepods are typically one millimetre (0.04 in) to two
millimetres (0.08 in) long, with a teardrop shaped body. Like
other crustaceans they have an armoured exoskeleton, but they are so
small that this armour, and the entire body, is usually transparent.
Copepods are usually the dominant zooplankton. Some scientists say
they form the largest animal biomass on the planet. The other
contender is the Antarctic krill. But copepods are smaller than krill,
with faster growth rates, and they are more evenly distributed
throughout the oceans. This means copepods almost certainly contribute
more secondary production to the world's oceans than krill, and
perhaps more than all other groups of marine organisms together. They
are a major item on the forage fish menu.
Copepods are very alert and evasive. They have large antennae. When
they spread their antennae they can sense the pressure wave from an
approaching fish and jump with great speed over a few centimeters.
Herrings are pelagic feeders. Their prey consists of a wide spectrum
of phytoplankton and zooplankton, amongst which copepods are the
dominant prey. Young herring usually capture small copepods by hunting
them individually— they approach them from below. The (half speed)
video loop at the left shows a juvenile herring feeding on copepods.
In the middle of the image a copepod escapes successfully to the left.
The opercula (hard bony flaps covering the gills) are spread wide open
to compensate the pressure wave which would alert the copepod to
trigger a jump.
Herring ram feeding on a school of copepods
Juvenile herring hunt for the very alert and evasive copepods in
synchronization. (Click to animate).
If prey concentrations reach very high levels, the herrings adopt a
method called "ram feeding". They swim with their mouth wide open and
their opercula fully expanded. Every several feet, they close and
clean their gill rakers for a few milliseconds (filter feeding). In
the photo on the right, herring ram feed on a school of copepods. The
fish all open their mouths and opercula wide at the same time (the red
gills are visible—click to enlarge). The fish swim in a grid where
the distance between them is the same as the jump length of their
prey, as indicated in the animation below.
In the animation, juvenile herring hunt the copepods in
synchronization: The copepods sense with their antennae the
pressure-wave of an approaching herring and react with a fast escape
jump. The length of the jump is fairly constant. The fish align
themselves in a grid with this characteristic jump length. A copepod
can dart about 80 times before it tires out. After a jump, it takes it
60 milliseconds to spread its antennae again, and this time delay
becomes its undoing, as the almost endless stream of herrings allows a
herring to eventually snap the copepod. A single juvenile herring
could never catch a large copepod.
Coastal upwellings can provide plankton rich feeding grounds for
Migration of Icelandic capelin
Forage fish often make great migrations between their spawning,
feeding and nursery grounds. Schools of a particular stock usually
travel in a triangle between these grounds. For example, one stock of
herrings have their spawning ground in southern Norway, their feeding
ground in Iceland, and their nursery ground in northern Norway. Wide
triangular journeys such as these may be important because forage
fish, when feeding, cannot distinguish their own offspring.
Fertile feeding grounds for forage fish are provided by ocean
upwellings. Oceanic gyres are large-scale ocean currents caused by the
Coriolis effect. Wind-driven surface currents interact with these
gyres and the underwater topography, such as seamounts and the edge of
continental shelves, to produce downwellings and upwellings. These
can transport nutrients which plankton thrive on. The result can be
rich feeding grounds attractive to the plankton feeding forage fish.
In turn, the forage fish themselves become a feeding ground for larger
predator fish. Most upwellings are coastal, and many of them support
some of the most productive fisheries in the world. Regions of notable
upwelling include coastal Peru, Chile, Arabian Sea, western South
New Zealand and the
Capelin are a forage fish of the smelt family found in the Atlantic
and Arctic oceans. In summer, they graze on dense swarms of plankton
at the edge of the ice shelf. Larger capelin also eat krill and other
crustaceans. The capelin move inshore in large schools to spawn and
migrate in spring and summer to feed in plankton rich areas between
Iceland, Greenland, and Jan Mayen. The migration is affected by ocean
Iceland maturing capelin make large northward feeding
migrations in spring and summer. The return migration takes place in
September to November. The spawning migration starts north of Iceland
in December or January.
The diagram on the right shows the main spawning grounds and larval
Capelin on the way to feeding grounds is coloured green,
capelin on the way back is blue, and the breeding grounds are red. In
a paper published in 2009, researchers from
Iceland recount their
application of an interacting particle model to the capelin stock
around Iceland, successfully predicting the spawning migration route
Bait ball and
Schooling forage fish are subject to constant attacks by predators. An
example is the attacks that take place during the African sardine run.
The African sardine run is a spectacular migration by millions of
silvery sardines along the southern coastline of Africa. In terms of
biomass, the sardine run could rival East Africa's great wildebeest
Dolphins herd sardines
Gannets "divebomb" sardines
Sardines have a short life-cycle, living only two or three years.
Adult sardines, about two years old, mass on the
Agulhas Bank where
they spawn during spring and summer, releasing tens of thousands of
eggs into the water. The adult sardines then make their way in
hundreds of shoals towards the sub-tropical waters of the Indian
Ocean. A larger shoal might be 7 kilometers (4.3 miles) long, 1.5
kilometers (0.93 miles) wide and 30 meters (98 feet) deep. Huge
numbers of sharks, dolphins, tuna, sailfish, Cape fur seals and even
killer whales congregate and follow the shoals, creating a feeding
frenzy along the coastline.
When threatened, sardines instinctively group together and create
massive bait balls. Bait balls can be up to 20 meters (66 feet) in
diameter. They are short lived, seldom lasting longer than 20 minutes.
As many as 18,000 dolphins, behaving like sheepdogs, round the
sardines into these bait balls, or herd them to shallow water
(corralling) where they are easier to catch. Once rounded up, the
dolphins and other predators take turns plowing through the bait
balls, gorging on the fish as they sweep through. Seabirds also attack
them from above, flocks of gannets, cormorants, terns and gulls. Some
of these seabirds plummet from heights of 30 metres (98 feet),
plunging through the water leaving vapour-like trails behind like
The eggs, left behind at the Agulhas Banks, drift northwest with the
current into waters off the west coast, where the larvae develop into
juvenile fish. When they are old enough, they aggregate into dense
shoals and migrate southwards, returning to the Agulhas banks in order
to restart the cycle. 
Medieval herring fishing in Scania (published 1555).
Herring has been known as a staple food source since 3000 B.C. In
Roman times, anchovies were the base for the fermented fish sauce
called garum. This staple of cuisine was produced in industrial
quantities and transported over long distances.
Fishing for sardela or sardina (Sardina pilchardus) is an ongoing
activity on the Croatian
Adriatic coasts of
Dalmatia and Istria. It
traces its roots back thousands of years. The region was then largely
a Venetian dominion, part of the Roman Empire. The area has always
been sustained through fishing mainly sardines. Along the coast towns
still promote the traditional practice of fishing by lateen sail boats
for tourism and festivals.
Pilchard fishing and processing thrived in
Cornwall between 1750 and
1880, after which stocks went into an almost terminal decline.
Recently (2007) stocks have been improving. The industry has featured
in many works of art, including
Stanhope Forbes and other Newlyn
This article is part of a series on
Purse seine boats encircling a school of menhaden
Commercial herring catch
Traditional commercial fisheries were directed towards high value
ocean predators such as cod, rockfish and tuna, rather than forage
fish. As technologies developed, fisheries became so effective at
locating and catching predator fish that many of the stocks collapsed.
The industry compensated by turning to species lower in the food
In former times, forage fish were more difficult to fish profitably,
and were a small part of the global marine fisheries. But modern
industrial fishing technologies have enabled the removal of increasing
quantities. Industrial-scale forage fish fisheries need large scale
landings of fish to return profits. They are dominated by a small
number of corporate fishing and processing companies.
Forage fish populations are very vulnerable when faced with modern
fishing equipment. They swim near the surface in compacted schools, so
they are relatively easy to locate at the surface with sophisticated
electronic fishfinders and from above with spotter planes. Once
located, they are scooped out of the water using highly efficient
nets, such as purse seines, which remove most of the school.
Spawning patterns in forage fish are highly predictable. Some
fisheries use knowledge of these patterns to harvest the forage
species as they come together to spawn, removing the fish before they
have actually spawned.
Fishing during spawning periods or at other
times when forage fish amass in large numbers can also be a blow to
predators. Many predators, such as whales, tuna and sharks, have
evolved to migrate long distances to specific sites for feeding and
breeding. Their survival hinges on their finding these forage schools
at their feeding grounds. The great ocean predators find that, no
matter how they are adapted for speed, size, endurance or stealth,
they are on the losing side when faced with the machinery of
contemporary industrial fishing.
Altogether, forage fish account for 37 percent (31.5 million tonnes)
of all fish taken from the world's oceans each year. However, because
there are fewer species of forage fish compared to predator fish,
forage species fisheries are the largest in the world. Seven of the
top ten fisheries target forage fish. The total world catch of
herrings, sardines and anchovies alone in 2005 was 22.4 million
tonnes, 24 percent of the total world catch.
The Peruvian anchoveta fishery is now the biggest in the world (10.7
million tonnes in 2004), while the Alaskan pollock fishery in the
Bering Sea is the largest single species fishery in the world (3
million tonnes). The Alaskan pollock is said to be the largest
remaining single species source of palatable fish in the world.
However, the biomass of pollock has declined in recent years, perhaps
spelling trouble for both the
Bering Sea ecosystem and the commercial
fishery it supports. Acoustic surveys by
NOAA indicate that the 2008
pollock population is almost 50 percent lower than last year's survey
levels. Some scientists think this decline in Alaska
pollock could repeat the collapse experienced by Atlantic cod, which
could have negative consequences for the entire
Bering Sea ecosystem.
Salmon, halibut, endangered Steller sea lions, fur seals, and humpback
whales eat pollock and depend on healthy populations to sustain
Use as animal feed
Eighty percent of the forage fish caught are fed to animals, in large
part due to the high content of beneficial long chain omega-3 fatty
acids in their flesh. Ninety percent is processed into fishmeal and
fish oil. Of this, 46 percent was fed to farmed fish, 24 percent to
pigs, and 22 percent to poultry (2002). Six times the
weight of forage fish is fed to pigs and poultry alone than the entire
seafood consumption of the U.S. market. One of the most promising
alternatives to fish oil as a source of long chain omega-3 fatty acids
and certain amino acids is algal oil from microalgae, the original
source of these fatty acids in forage fish.
According to Turchini and De Silva (2008), another 2.5 million tonnes
of the annual forage fish catch is consumed by the global cat food
industry. In Australia, pet cats eat 13.7 kilograms of fish a year
compared to the 11 kilograms eaten by the average Australian. The pet
food industry is increasingly marketing premium and super-premium
products, when different raw materials, such as the by-products of the
fish filleting industry, could be used instead.
In 2008 the
Sea Around Us Project
Sea Around Us Project completed a nine-year study of
forage fish led by the fisheries scientists Jacqueline Alder and
Daniel Pauly. They concluded that...
The composition of landings of forage fish fisheries have changed over
the past 50 years with the trophic level of fish used in fishmeal
increasing over the past 20 years.
Our understanding of the role of forage fish in marine ecosystem and
the impact of fishing is still limited.
Landing of forage fish peaked by the 1970s, and these high levels are
highly unlikely in the future, even if fisheries are managed
The consumption of forage fish by seabirds and marine mammals is not
likely to be onerous to fisheries, except in a few localized areas. By
contrast, fisheries, by reducing the biomass of small pelagics, might
pose a threat to these predators, particularly to those species for
which stocks have been heavily depleted by human exploitation in the
Some forage fish species are consumed by many people with consumption
patterns changing over the last 20 years.
Aquaculture continues to increase its consumption of fishmeal and fish
In 2015 sardine populations crashed along the west coast of the United
States, causing the fishery to close early and remain closed through
the 2015–2016 season. A key reason for the population crash, was
overfishing due to the demand of fish meals and fish oil used in feed
for aquaculture and for human nutritional supplements. In an
effort to provide some relief from the pressure put on forage fish
populations, the World Bank along with the University of Arizona,
Aquarium and the New England
Aquarium has sponsored a
competition called the F3 (Fish-Free Feed) Challenge, which will award
$200,000 to the most successful fish feed manufacturer who develops
aquaculture feeds not made from fish.
In lakes and rivers
Forage fish also inhabit freshwater habitats, such as lakes and
rivers, where they serve as food for larger freshwater predators.
Usually smaller than 15 centimetres (6 in) in length, these small
bait fish make up most of the fish found in lakes and rivers. The
minnow family alone, consisting of minnows, chubs, shiners and daces,
consists of more than fifty species. Other freshwater forage fish
include suckers, killifish, shad, bony fish as well as fish of the
sunfish family, excluding black basses and crappie, and smaller
species of the carp family. There are also anadromous forage fish,
such as eulachon.
Freshwater forage fish
Southern redbelly dace
Swarm of carp
Within any fresh or saltwater ecosystem, there will always be both
desirable and undesirable fishes, and this varies from country to
country, and often from region to region within a country. Sport
fishermen divide freshwater predators of forage fish into those:
which have a good fighting ability and are good to eat, called sport
(or game) fish.
the other less desirable fish, called rough fish in North America and
coarse fish in Britain
Rough or coarse fish usually refers to fish that are not commonly
eaten, not sought after for sporting reasons, or have become invasive
species reducing the populations of desirable fish. They compete for
forage fish with the more popular sport fish. They are often regarded
as a nuisance, and are not usually protected by game laws. Forage
fish generally are not considered rough or coarse fish because of
their usefulness as bait.
The term rough fish is used by U.S. state agencies and anglers to
describe undesirable predator fish. In North America, anglers fish for
salmon, trout, bass, pike, catfish, walleye and muskellunge. The
smallest fish are called panfish, because they can fit in a standard
cooking pan. Some examples are crappies, rock bass, perch, bluegill
The term coarse fish originated in the United Kingdom in the early
19th century. Prior to that time, recreational fishing was the sport
of the gentry, who angled for trout and salmon which they called "game
Fish other than game fish were disdained as "coarse fish".
These days, "game fish" refers to Salmonids (other than grayling) —
that is, salmon, trout and char. Coarse fish are made up mostly of the
larger species of Cyprinids (carp, roach, bream) as well as pike,
catfish, gar and lamprey. Coarse fish are no longer disdained; indeed,
fishing for coarse fish has become a popular pastime.
Freshwater predators of forage fish
Bait and feeder fish
Forage fish are sometimes referred to as bait fish or feeder fish.
Bait fish is a term used particularly by recreational fishermen,
although commercial fisherman also catch fish to bait longlines and
Forage fish is a fisheries term, and is used in the context of
fisheries. Bait fish, by contrast, are fish that are caught by humans
to use as bait for other fish. The terms overlap in the sense that
most bait fish are also forage fish, and vice versa.
Feeder fish is a
term used particularly in the context of fish aquariums. It refers
essentially to the same concept as forage fish, small fish that are
eaten by larger fish, but the term is adapted to the particular
requirements of working with fish in aquariums.
2006: The U.S.
National Coalition for Marine Conservation
National Coalition for Marine Conservation asks U.S.
fishery managers to put "Forage First!". Their campaign was launched
with the publication of their report, Taking the Bait: Are America’s
Fisheries Out-competing Predators for their Prey?, available at
cost to the U. S. fishing industry, encouraging fishery managers to
protect predator–prey relationships as a first step toward an
ecosystem based approach to fishery management.
2009: The international Lenfest Forage
Fish Task Force is established
to develop workable management plans for tackling the depletion of
2015: sardine populations crashed along the west coast of the United
Pikitch E and 12 others (2012) Little Fish, Big Impact: Managing a
Crucial Link in
Ocean Food Webs Lenfest
Ocean Program, Washington, DC.
Summary and other materials available on the Lenfest
Optimal foraging theory
The Blue Planet
^ a b c Kils, U (1992) The ecoSCOPE and dynIMAGE: Microscale tools for
in situ studies of predator–prey interactions. Arch Hydrobiol Beih
^ a b c d e f g National Coalition for Marine Conservation: Forage
^ U.S. Geological Survey: Forage
Fish Archived 2008-09-16 at the
Wayback Machine. Alaska Science Center
^ a b c Alder, Jacqueline; Campbell, Brooke; Karpouzi, Vasiliki;
Kaschner, Kristin; Pauly, Daniel (2008). "Forage Fish: From Ecosystems
to Markets". Annual Review of Environment and Resources. 33:
^ a b c d Marine
Fish Conservation Network: Forage fish: The Most
Fish in the Sea Archived 2008-12-05 at the Wayback Machine.
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Shoaling and schooling
Diseases and parasites
Fish as food
Fear of fish
Hypoxia in fish
Sensory systems in fish
Ampullae of Lorenzini
Jamming avoidance response
Capacity for pain
Surface wave detection
Life history theory
Polyandry in fish
Fin and flipper locomotion
Tradeoffs for locomotion in air and water
Diel vertical migration
Sleep in fish
Fish common names
Fish on stamps
Glossary of ichthyology