Conservationists Praise U.S. Regulators Vote To End Sardine Season
On Wednesday, Federal regulators voted to end the current sardine season in the U.S. immediately in an attempt to see to it that the depleted population of small oily fish is restored.
The Wednesday’s emergency vote was praised by conservation groups who in the past have blamed the ongoing large scale brown pelican and sea lion starvation deaths on the decline of sardine.
The vote was followed by a decision that was reached upon on Sunday that stated that the sardine harvest should be shut down for 12 months starting 1st July.
According to Ben Enticknap, a senior scientist with Oceana, an environmental group, "The council made the responsible decision to protect the last remaining sardine and help this population."
Enticknap went on to add that, "Sardines are vital forage fish for a healthy ocean ecosystem."
Reports by regulators are indicating that there are fewer than 150,000 metric tons of fish which can be found in the U.S. waters. That is a huge contrast if compared to the figure of 840,000 metric tons of fish which was recorded back in 2007. The fishing of sardines usually takes place in the waters off the coast of Washington state, California as well as Oregon.
The reason as to why there has been a huge decline in the number of sardines is divided with some Regulators at the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) saying that the reduction in population is as a result of natural causes while conservation groups such as Oceana are stating that the reduction has been brought about by overfishing which has been witnessed in recent years.