Description of time series:
Between 2014 and 2018 the biomass of forage fish reflected in catch per unit effort (CPUE) showed no significant trend.
Description of gauge:
The gauge value of 93 indicates that between 2014 and 2018 the biomass of forage fish (CPUE) in the California Current region was much greater than the median value of all forage fish biomass between 1992 and 2018
Description of forage fish:
Forage fish or otherwise known as small pelagics are fish and invertebrates (like squids) that inhabit - the pelagic zone - the open ocean. The number and distribution of pelagic fish vary regionally, depending on multiple physical and ecological factors i.e. the availability of light, nutrients, dissolved oxygen, temperature, salinity, predation, abundance of phytoplankton and zooplankton, etc. Small pelagics are known to exhibit “boom and bust” cycles of abundance in response to these conditions. Examples include anchovies, sardines, shad, menhaden and the fish that feed on them
Small pelagic species are often important to fisheries and serve as forage for commercially and recreationally important fish, as well as other ecosystem species (e.g. seabirds and marine mammals). They are a critical part of marine food webs and important to monitor because so many other organisms depend on them. We present the annual total biomass of small pelagics/forage fish in the Alaska, California Current, and Northeast regions, as well as selected taxa in the Gulf of Mexico region.
Overall Scores means the following:
- 0 - 10: The five-year forage fish small pelagics average is very low compared to the median value.
- 10 - 25: The five-year forage fish small pelagics average is much lower than the median value.
- 25 - 50: The five-year forage fish small pelagics average is lower than the median value.
- 50: The five-year forage fish small pelagics average equals the median value.
- 50 - 75: The five-year forage fish small pelagics average is higher than the median value.
- 75 - 90: The five-year forage fish small pelagics average is much higher than the median value.
- 90 - 100: The five-year forage fish small pelagics average is very high compared to the median value.
Data for forage fish and small pelagics were obtained from regional NOAA Integrated Ecosystem Assessment Program teams that produce indicators and Ecosystem Status Report. For more information https://www.integratedecosystemassessment.noaa.gov/