“We believe the harm has been irreparable and will already have ramifications for decades to come,” [Geoffrey] Shester said. “We’ve basically reduced the carrying capacity of the ecosystem to support the populations of other species that depend on sardines. The more fish we take, the more it is going to make that situation even worse.”
Sardines are mostly sold for bait. The fish are generally frozen in big blocks for use in commercial long-line fishing and for feed at Australian and Japanese blue fin tuna farms. There are some efforts, including among local Indian tribes, to promote it as a healthy local delicacy.
—Peter Fimrite writing in the San Francisco Chronicle in April, about the Pacific sardine’s population decline, and cancelling the West Coast commercial sardine season.