Critical Research Needs for Forage Fish within Inner Shelf Marine Ecosystems

Forage fish are a critical component of marine ecosystems because they integrate energy across trophic levels within marine food webs. Many studies have highlighted the importance of this group, and past research efforts have focused largely on studying forage fish within offshore and estuarine areas. In contrast, limited information is available for forage fish on the inner continental shelf (<50 m water depth), where they encounter a range of anthropogenic stressors and support critical apex predator populations, including species of conservation concern. We highlight the importance of forage fish within inner shelf marine ecosystems using examples from the Northern California Current and describe outstanding research needs for forage fish within this topical area. Addressing these research needs is a critical step for maintaining productive forage fish populations within inner shelf ecosystems considering the social-, management-, and climate-driven changes that are expected to impact coastal regions in the coming decades.

Authors: James W. Rivers, Jennifer Bailey Guerrero, Richard D. Brodeur, Gregory K. Krutzikowsky, Lindsay J. Adrean, Scott A. Heppell, Kym C. Jacobson, Kristen Milligan, S. Kim Nelson, Daniel D. Roby, William J. Sydeman, Leigh G. Torres, John A. Barth

Rivers, James W.
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Fisheries, Vol. 47, Issue 5, May 2022,: 213-221
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