Authors in bold are/were staff or students of the Institute for Ocean Conservation Science and its founding organization, the Pew Institute for Ocean Science.
Pikitch, E.K, Boersma, P.D., Boyd, I.L., Conover, D.O., Cury P., Essington, T.E., Heppell, S.S., Houde, E.D., Mangel, M., Pauly, D., Plagany, E., Sainsbury, K., Steneck, R.S. 2018. The strong connection between forage fish and their predators: A response to Hilborn et al. (2017). Fisheries Research 198: 220-223.
We are pleased to see that in the years since the publication of our report, Little Fish, Big Impact: A Report from the Lenfest Forage Fish Task Force (Pikitch et al., 2012), researchers continue to study forage fish and to reach conclusions similar to ours. Hilborn et al. (2017) recommended, as we did, that forage fish management be tailored to individual species and ecosystems where possible. Hilborn et al. (2017), however, mischaracterized our work in several respects, presented selective analyses that are not widely representative of forage fish, and made claims not fully supported by their results.
In the interests of furthering science and the management of forage fish, we first briefly address the mischaracterizations, then discuss the selective analysis and unsupported conclusions that reduce the usefulness of the Hilborn et al. paper. We close by suggesting a path forward for forage fish management in light of the current state of the science.
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