Researchers Recommend Protecting Small Fish as a Vital Food Source
Tallahassee, FL.—Already pressured by a steady loss of habitat, many of Florida’s imperiled and iconic coastal waterbirds are vulnerable to declines in small fish that are necessary for their survival, according to a report by Audubon Florida and The Pew Charitable Trusts.
“Fins and Feathers: Why little fish are a big deal to Florida’s coastal waterbirds”examines the crucial link between birds and the diverse array of small fish that are a critical food source. Declines in the populations of these fish, known alternatively as forage fish, prey fish or baitfish, could threaten imperiled birds such as Brown Pelicans, Roseate Spoonbills, Black Skimmers and Reddish Egrets, according to the report.
“In Florida, our environment is directly linked to our quality of life and our economy,” said Julie Wraithmell, Audubon’s director of wildlife conservation. “This report shows how important baitfish are to Florida’s coastal birds, environment, communities and economy. Fisheries policy must consider the ecological and economic vitality that hinges on these smallest of fish.”