By JEFF BARNARD
WEST COAST (AP) — West Coast fisheries managers will likely shut down sardine fishing this year in the face of evidence that the stock is declining.
The commercial fishing fleet hopes that the Pacific Fishery Management Council will not be so concerned that they shut down other fisheries, such as mackerel and anchovies.
However, the conservation group Oceana wants an immediate shut down. The group says this would leave food in the ocean for sea lions and other wildlife and speed the rebuilding process for sardines.
The council meets later this month.
Sardines were a thriving fishery on the West Coast from World War I through World War II. Today, there are about 100 boats with permits to fish for sardines in the area. Much of the catch is exported to Asia and Europe.