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Maggie Mooney-Seus
978 281-9175/774-392-4865
November 1, 2011
55 Great Republic Drive
Gloucester, MA 01930-2276

NOAA to Consider Whether Listing River Herring Under Endangered Species Act is Warranted

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Blueback herring
Related Links

River Herring 90-Day Finding

More information on river herring

Petition to List River Herring under the ESA

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 has been conducting a stock assessment for river herring since 2008, covering over 50 river specific stocks throughout the species US 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 two keystone species.

"The status of river herring is important to the Commission and our member states,” said Vince O’Shea, Executive Director, Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. “We are pleased that the results of our efforts to assess the stock can be used by NOAA to inform its species status review.”

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.

Both alewife and blueback herring are found in coastal waters and rivers from Canada to North Carolina, although blueback herring’s range extends farther south to Florida. Both species are managed by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.

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