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The fish near the bottom of the food chain are often overlooked, but they are vital to healthy oceans and estuaries. Collectively known as forage fish, these species, including sardines, anchovies, herrings, and krill, feed on plankton and become food themselves for larger fish, seabirds, and marine mammals. But, as demand for animal protein has soared, more and more forage fish have been used to feed livestock and farmed fish. A growing body of scientific evidence suggests that current fishing levels are dangerously high, both for the forage fish themselves and for the predators and industries that depend on them.