Big Changes and Little Fish

Tuesday, 01 October 2013

- New leadership
- Hong Kong takes stand
- Forage fish
- WCN Expo

Hello fellow ocean lovers!

We're thrilled to announce that Jilian Epstein has joined COARE's leadership team! Jilian is a science educator with a passion for ocean conservation and public awareness, and when we met her at an event at the Monterey Bay Aquarium years ago, we quickly found that our passions were very much aligned. Since then, she has become an invaluable volunteer, advocate, and ocean champion. In addition to her educational expertise, she brings valuable insight and enthusiasm to our team, and we're absolutely thrilled that she's joined us.

Hong Kong takes stand

In order to inspire conservation and to "set a good example", the government of Hong Kong has taken a bold step by banning shark fin, bluefin tuna, and black moss (Nostoc flagelliforme) from official government functions and menus.

Furthermore, the Environment Bureau has instructed Hong Kong government officials not to consume any of the now forbidden items even when offered at non-government banquets.

Forage fish

On 16 September, the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC), the management organization for United States west coast fisheries, voted unanimously to begin a process that would protect important forage species.

By voting to amend current Fishery Management Plans (FMPs) to prohibit the development of new commercial fisheries targeting forage species not currently managed or monitored, the PFMC paved the way for a shift from species-specific management to an ecosystem-based model. Such an approach better considers and accounts for the complex and interconnected nature of the ocean food web.

Forage species play a crucial role in the food web, and form the underpinning for a healthy and vibrant ocean ecosystem. Put most simply, forage species are the little fish that birds, marine mammals, a larger fish eat. It is, in fact, this dietary linkage that puts a tremendous amount of pressure on forage species.

While some forage species are caught and used for agriculture (fertilizer), the global aquaculture industry tends to feed carnivorous farmed fish with wild-caught forage fish and fish products. While some aquaculture endeavors may provide solutions for growing needs and demands in a sustainable and ecologically sound manner, some farm-raised seafood just does not make sense.

COARE has long supported protection for forage species, and some of our followers may recall that our Executive Director testified before the Senate Appropriations Committee two years ago in support of the California Forage Species Act.

There are still a number of steps before the PFMC takes action to protect west coast forage fish, but we're quite excited about this definitive step in the right direction, and we consider it a grand victory.

WCN Expo

On Saturday, 12 October 2013, COARE will be participating in the Wildlife Conservation Network Expo at the Mission Bay Conference Center in San Francisco.

Conservation legend Dr. Jane Goodall is among the featured speakers, and the event is already sold out.

To learn more about the WCN Expo, visit:

If you already have tickets to attend, or if you are helping us staff the event, we will look forward to seeing you there! We might still need another volunteer or two, so if you're not already part of our Volunteer force, we encourage you to join that mailing list:


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Wishing you healthy oceans,
Your friends at COARE

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