CP:The Role of Forage Fishes in Marine Ecosystems

Susan B. Gibson fnsbg at aurora.alaska.edu
Wed Apr 19 21:21:24 EST 1995

The Alaska Sea Grant College Program announces:

November 13-15, 1996 Anchorage, Alaska


Forage fishes are abundant schooling fishes that are preyed upon by
seabirds, marine mammals, and other fish species. They are important to
the ecosystem because they transfer energy from primary or secondary
producers to higher trophic levels. Yet, except for the species that are
commercially exploited, they tend to be among the least studied fishes 
the sea. Changes in the populations of marine mammals, seabirds, and
commercially important fishes worldwide underscore a need to better
understand trophic relationships.

The conveners of this symposium wish to bring together international
experts on forage fishes to discuss links between these species and 
predators and prey. Because some species of forage fishes are well 
in some ecosystems and poorly investigated in others, there is much to 
gained by sharing knowledge in an international forum. By highlighting
trophic links within a number of marine ecosystems worldwide, we hope to
better understand changes that occur at higher and lower trophic levels
and to identify gaps in knowledge about forage fishes that require
directed research.

The primary objective of the symposium is to provide findings to assist
in the multispecies management of Alaska marine ecosystems, with a focus
on the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska including the Exxon Valdez oil 
region. While the concept for this symposium was developed by scientists
and resource managers in Alaska, it is envisioned that the management of
ecosystems worldwide will benefit from this information exchange.

The three-day program will have invited and contributed presentations 
a poster session followed by workshops for synthesis development. For 
purposes of this meeting the definition of forage fishes includes, but 
is not 
limited to: anchovy, capelin, eulachon, herring, gadoids, juvenile 
mackerel, myctophids, osmerids, Pacific sandfish, sandlance, sardine, 
and smelt.

Contributed papers and posters are welcome on any of the above species
or other similar species and the role they play in the ecosystem.

Some of the questions we hope to answer include:

     Are forage fish indicators of ecosystem health? What level of
     understanding is needed to manage forage fish? 

     Many forage species have proven hard to assess using standard 
     methods. Are there new methodologies, especially in the area of 
     remote sensing,that may provide improved assessment capability?

     To what degree does abundance variation of marine forage fish 
     on changes in oceanographic and meteorological conditions?

     How extensive are multispecies interactions among fish, marine 
     mammals, and seabirds in competition for food? Are there strong 
     predator-prey links in which the abundance of forage species 
     predator species and vice versa? Can predation by forage fish on 
     life stages impact population levels of commercially important 
     marine species?

     Does single species management adversely impact forage fish? Does
      a multispecies/ecosystem management regime better protect forage 
     fish populations?

     Are there examples of successful multispecies/ecosystem management,
     especially in arctic regions?

     What types of research and assessments and what level and frequency 
     of data collection are needed to incorporate forage fish into an 
     management framework?

To contribute a paper or poster to the symposium, submit an abstract of
300 words or less by e-mail no later than January 31, 1996. Abstracts 
indicate whether they are for a paper or poster and include: title, 
contact person, mailing address, electronic address, phone number, and 
fax number.
Submit abstracts by electronic mail to:
	FNBRM1 at aurora.alaska.edu 	

NOTE:  E-mail your name, mailing address, and numbers to the above 
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