Sardine fishery may be in peril | Science News



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Sardine fishery may be in peril

Conditions in northeast Pacific echo those related to collapse last century

5:31pm, February 27, 2012

The storied sardine fishery in the northeast Pacific may be tottering on the brink of another collapse, like one that shut down sardine fishing there for years in the middle of the last century.

Signs of trouble that foreshadowed the last collapse are recurring, warn two researchers at the Southwest Fisheries Science Center in La Jolla, Calif. A shift toward the cooler phase of an oceanic cycle is coinciding with evidence that the sardine population is struggling to reproduce in abundance, report fisheries biologist Juan Zwolinski and research engineer David Demer online February 27 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

This fishery was once the largest for any single species in the Western Hemisphere, says Boris Worm of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada. “It continues to be important today, not just for people, but also for the large numbers of whales, seabirds and predatory fish who depend upon that stock.” U.S. fishing fle

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