On August 8, 2016, in a meeting in Virginia Beach, Va., the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council adopted an amendment providing a level of management and protection for over 50 species of fish and other marine animals that provide forage for larger predators. The Mid-Atlantic Council, headquartered in Dover, Del., oversees fishery management in federal waters offshore of the Mid-Atlantic states from New York to North Carolina; it’s one of eight regional councils in the United States (for more information on the Mid-Atlantic Council, see http://www.mafmc.org/).
According to a Council presentation at the August 8 meeting (available online at http://www.mafmc.org/briefing/august-2016), the goal of the amendment, called the “Unmanaged Forage Omnibus Amendment,” is “[t]o prohibit the development of new and expansion of existing directed commercial fisheries on unmanaged forage species in Mid-Atlantic Federal waters until the Council has had an adequate opportunity to both assess the scientific information relating to any new or expanded directed fisheries and consider potential impacts to existing fisheries, fishing communities, and the marine ecosystem.” The measure aims to avoid situations where forage species become targeted and intensively harvested before fishery managers can assess what impacts such harvests might cause.
Additional source: Call them bait. Call them forage species. In any case, now they’re protected, Virginian-Pilot, 8/8/16.