Federal bill to protect fish for source of food for Great Lakes birds reintroduced

Photo of Chris Carr

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell reintroduced the Forage Fish Conservation Act to the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this week.

The proposed bill which would help protect forage fish, a source of food for many birds in the Great Lakes region, was originally introduced by Dingell during the last congressional session. The protection would amend the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act and provide broader protection for this type of fish

“This fall, seabirds like the Black Tern are taking flight from the Great Lakes marshes where they built their summer homes, to travel thousands of miles over the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico towards their winter homes. But they can only make this strenuous migration journey if there are abundant ocean fish for them to eat along the way,” said Michelle Parker, vice president and executive director of Audubon Great Lakes.

Forage fish include herring, anchovy, squid, some small crustaceans and other species of small schooling fish that birds feed upon as they migrate to and from the Great Lakes. The bill, if passed, would ensure the food supply of many birds in the Great Lakes region. This is especially important to groups like the Audubon Society, a non-profit dedicated to maintaining bird habitats throughout the country.