Fisheries managers decide on ecosystem input



PORTLAND, Ore. — Fishing season and catch quota decisions will rely on an ecosystem approach going forward. That is according to plan by federal fisheries managers for the West Coast after a meeting on Tuesday.

The group decided to rely on regular scientific reports about the health of the ocean.

Meeting in Portland, the Pacific Fishery Management Council unanimously adopted the Fishery Ecosystem Plan.

Ben Enticknap of the conservation group Oceana called the measure a milestone that marks the end of an era when decisions were driven by crises and a drive to maximize the catch.

The first initiative will be to work on protecting forage fish — the small fish that are food for big fish — that are not currently harvested.