River Herring ESA Listing to be Considered by NOAA

NOAA has determined that a petition to list alewife and blueback herring, collectively referred to as river herring, under the Endangered Species Act presents enough scientific and commercial information to merit further review. As a result, the agency will conduct a formal review of river herring population status and trends.

On August 5, the Natural Resources Defense Council submitted a petition to NOAA requesting that the agency consider river herring for listing. Within 12 months of receipt of this petition, NOAA is required to make a determination of whether alewife and blueback herring should be listed as endangered or threatened, or not at all.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) has been conducting a stock assessment for river herring since 2008, covering over 50 river specific stocks throughout the species’ U.S. range. This represents a significant effort on behalf of the Commission and the coastal states from Maine to Florida. NOAA recognizes this extensive effort to compile the most current information on the status of these stocks throughout their range in the United States and intends to work cooperatively with the Commission to utilize this information in the ongoing review of the status of these 2 keystone species.

NOAA will also consider information contained in the petition, published literature and other information about the historic and current range of river herring, their physical and biological habitat requirements, population status and trends, and threats.

If NOAA determines that a listing is appropriate, the agency will publish a proposed rule and take public comment before publishing a final decision. However, if NOAA determines that that listing these species is not appropriate, the process ends.

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