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River Herring

Alewife photo credit: Jerry Prezioso, NOAA

River herring (alewife and blue back herring), range along the east coast and have supported one of the oldest fisheries in the United States.  They also provide food for commercial fish like striped bass, cod and haddock.

Over the years, their populations have declined due to overfishing in the late 1800s through the 1960s, habitat loss and other factors. NOAA considers river herring to be  “Species of Concern" and “Candidate Species.”  Our staff are working on a number of management measures and habitat protection and restoration efforts to help protect and recover river herring populations.  

Because river herring are so widely distributed and spend time in both fresh water and the ocean, NOAA works with a variety of partners -- federal and state agencies, non-profit organizations, commercial and recreational fishermen and others -- to conduct research and develop management measures for these species.