River Herring

River herring migrating upstream. Photo credit: Tim & Doug Watts

This month's Ocean Watch Essay on, River Herring and their role in coastal and marine ecosystems, comes from the Pew Environment Group. Special thanks to the Pew Charitable Trust for the contribution to Sailors for the Sea's Ocean Watch Essays.    

River herring getting a lift over a dam. Photo credit: Bill McWha

This spring, as New England sailors leave their harbors for the open ocean, the last remaining schools of river herring will start a journey of their own as they migrate from open-water feeding grounds to their native rivers.

Alewife and blueback herring, collectively known as river herring, were once found in nearly every coastal river in the Northeast. Now, federal fisheries managers are evaluating these fish for a potential listing under the Endangered Species Act.

Industrial trawling at the mouth of Narragansett Bay this January. Photo Credit: Mike Laptew

What can you do?

  • Write a letter to the council and let members know you support better oversight of industrial fishing and increased protection of the ocean and its resources.
  • Stay in touch with the efforts to protect forage fish at HerringAlliance.org.
  • Support Ocean Conservation by donating to Sailors for the Sea.
  • Attend a public hearing being held by The New England Fishery Management Council during March, click here to find dates.
  • Eat Sustainable Seafood, whether at a restaurant or at the supermarket, buying sustainably sourced seafood make an impact. Learn what types of fish are sustainable from the Monterey Bay Aquarium and connect to fishermen near you through Local Catch.