A Tiny Fish That Fuels an Atlantic Ecosystem Now Fuels Industry Debates

Hundreds of millions of the little, silvery fish play a crucial role in the ecology of coastal waters all along the Eastern Seaboard, feeding bigger fish like striped bass and weakfish; marine mammals including whales and dolphins; and birds like bald eagles, great blue herons and brown pelicans. The fish are nutrient-rich, a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids; they consume smaller organisms like plankton and they filter huge quantities of ocean water.

But they are also a mainstay of the commercial fishing industry, caught in mass quantities to be processed into bait for crabs and lobsters, and in greater volume for so-called reduction fisheries, in which they are ground up and turned into products including fish oil and fish meal.

Read the full article from The New York Times by Jon Hurdle