NOAA Fisheries announced that listing is not warranted at this time for alewife and blueback herring, collectively known as river herring, as either threatened or endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act. The agency has already funded and will be implementing, in conjunction with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission and other partners, a coordinated coast-wide effort to continue to address data needs and proactively conserve river herring and their habitat.

“There has been a lot of good work done, especially in the past two years, to help protect and restore alewife and blueback herring,” said John Bullard, regional administrator for the NOAA Fisheries Northeast Regional Office. “We plan to work with our partners to identify and implement effective conservation efforts for river herring populations throughout their ranges while also supporting further research to fill important data needs for these two species.”

NOAA Fisheries intends to establish a technical working group and to continue to work closely with the Commission and others to develop a long-term and dynamic conservation plan for river herring throughout both species’ ranges from Canada to Florida.

The working group will attempt to quantify the impact of ongoing restoration and conservation efforts and new fisheries management measures (for example, catch caps in two federal fisheries), which should benefit the species. They will review any new information produced from ongoing scientific studies including genetic analyses, ocean migration pattern research, and climate change impact studies, that are completed in the next 3 to 5 years, and will assess available data to determine whether recent reports showing higher river herring counts along the coast in the last two years represent sustained trends.

During this time, NOAA Fisheries is committed to continue working with partners to continue implementing important conservation efforts, as well as funding needed research for river herring. NOAA Fisheries intends to revisit the status of river herring within the next five years.