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West Coast Anchovy Catch Limits

Humpback whale lunge feeding in an anchovy-rich cove, off the coast of Santa Cruz, California.
David Gomez / Getty Images

What’s at Stake

Anchovy are a critical forage fish that are fundamental to a healthy ocean food web, because they provide an essential food source for larger fish like salmon, as well as whales, dolphins, sea lions, brown pelicans, endangered seabirds, and other ocean animals.


The Fisheries Service established a multi-year, unchanging catch limit of 23,573 metric tons that would not change even if the anchovy population collapses.

From 2009–2015, scientists documented an anchovy population collapse as thousands of sea lions starved to death on U.S. West Coast beaches and brown pelicans abandoned their chicks due to an inability to feed them.

Earthjustice and our clients are suing the federal agency's failure to prevent overfishing of this important species and to ensure abundant anchovy populations that are needed to sustain ocean wildlife.

Case ID

3306, 3957, 4331


Case Updates