Stuck in the Middle: The Ecology, Knowledge Gaps or Misunderstandings, and Issues Surrounding Forage Fish. Forage fish occur in the middle of the marine or freshwater food chain, generally feeding on plankton in open waters. They are important prey for larger fish predators, seabirds, marine mammals, and humans. In the North Pacific, many of these species became economically important to non-indigenous humans in the 1800s. Stories of epic-sized sardine, anchovy, and herring fisheries are familiar to many. In recent times, forage fish have been caught in the crossfire of ecological conservation versus fisheries. Locally, the focus of interest has been on the schooling forage fish that utilize the nearshore for spawning and/or rearing. Dr. Brown will focus on these species, presenting basics about forage fish marine ecology and population dynamics as well as challenges for research and monitoring. Her presentation should provide a holistic understanding of the political and ecological controversies that are fueling heated discussions, litigation, and legislation. She will describe an approach to help solve these controversies, calm the debate, and provide for increased research and monitoring. Finally, she will discuss the critical role organizations play in citizen science efforts that fill the gaps in our understanding of forage fish. Partnerships among citizen’s groups, agencies, organizations, and industry involved in scientific monitoring need to be increased not only because it is cost-effective, but because public engagement increases the awareness that ultimately leads to better policy decisions.Dr. Evelyn Brown got her B.S. in chemistry and zoology at the University of Utah, and her M.S and Ph.D. in fisheries oceanography from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. She has worked as a fisheries scientist and biologist, a marine mammal observer, and a commercial fisher. In 1989, with the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill, she was assigned Principal Investigator for herring damage assessment. In 2005 she moved to Washington State to do research as a consultant and contractor. This continued until 2014 when she accepted her current position at Lummi Natural Resources as their fisheries analyst. Her current focus is on salmon, crab and clams but her research extends to other topics in marine ecology, new forage fish monitoring programs, marine survival, climate change, and resource protection. In 2015, she was selected to serve on the Statistical and Scientific Committee (SSC) for the Pacific Fisheries Management Commission.