IFFO, the trade association for the global marine ingredients industry, said it is delighted to see a research project into the management of forage fish stocks.
The project, launched by the University of Washington and led by Professor Ray Hilborn, will refine and expand some of the initial work already done in this field.
IFFO has agreed to support the project by providing information and financial assistance.
The marine ingredients industry has demonstrated its commitment to fishery management, said IFFO, through the widespread uptake of third party certification.
It said it believes in investing in good science as the basis for the best management of forage fish stocks.
Although much of the raw material for the industry is now from by-products from fish processing, it still relies for its long-term future on responsibly managed capture fisheries.
These fisheries are typically small, bony fish that have little or no market for human consumption but are also recognised as being food sources for marine mammals, birds and other predators, becoming known as forage fish.
Predator/prey relationships are complex and not well understood and, as fishery management moves away from single stock assessments to a more ecosystem based approach, it is important that decisions on harvest levels are decided based on good science and up to date economics, said IFFO.
Professor Hilborn has called together a group of the most eminent scientists in this field to undertake a two-year study of the main commercial forage species, reporting in 2017.