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A new rule prohibits new fisheries on forage fish species including silversides, shown here.

A new rule prohibits new fisheries on forage fish species including silversides, shown here.

Paul Asman and Jill Lenoble/Flickr

West Coast fishery managers adopted a new rule Tuesday that protects many species of forage fish at the bottom of the ocean food chain.

The rule prohibits commercial fishing of  herring, smelt, squid and other small fish that aren’t currently targeted by fishermen. It sets up new, more protective regulations for anyone who might want to start fishing for those species in the future.

The Pacific Fishery Management Council unanimously voted to adopt the rule at a meeting in Vancouver, Washington. The council sets ocean fishing seasons off the coasts of Washington, Oregon and California.

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