Forage Fish Species and Grenadiers of Alaska

Squid, Pacific herring, capelin, eulachon, age 0 walleye pollock, and euphausiids. Photo: Yumi Arimitsu, US Geological Survey

Forage fish are those species which are a critical food source for many marine mammal, seabird, and fish species. The forage fish species category was established to allow for the management of these species in a manner that prevents the development of a commercial directed fishery for forage fish. Grenadiers are acknowledged for their important role in the ecosystem. Alaska Region management measures for this species category are specified in regulations at 50 CFR 679.20(i).

Forage Fish:

  • Osmeridae family (eulachon, capelin, and other smelts)
  • Myctophidae family (lanternfishes)
  • Bathylagidae family (deep-sea smelts)
  • Ammodytidae family (Pacific sand lance)
  • Trichodontidae family (Pacific sand fish)
  • Pholidae family (gunnels)
  • Stichaeidae family (pricklebacks, warbonnets, eelblennys, cockscombs, and shannys)
  • Gonostomatidae family (bristlemouths, lightfishes, and anglemouths)
  • Order Euphausiacea (krill)


  • Giant grenadier (Albatrossia pectoralis)
  • Pacific grenadier (Coryphaenoides acrolepis)
  • Popeye grenadier (Coryphaenoides cinereus)

Forage Fish and Grenadier Management and Research

Pacific sand lance, Pacific herring, and capelin. Photo: Yumi Arimitsu, US Geological Survey.Management