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Listing Determination

On August 12, 2013, NOAA Fisheries announced that listing river herring under the Endangered Species Act as either threatened or endangered was not warranted. 78 FR 48944. While neither species is currently endangered or threatened, both species are at low abundance compared to historical levels.  Monitoring both species is warranted. Significant data deficiencies for both species exist, and there is uncertainty associated with available data. Many ongoing restoration and conservation efforts and new management measures are being initiated or considered that are expected to benefit the species; however, it is not possible at this time to quantify the positive benefit from these efforts. Therefore, we commit to revisiting both species in 3 to 5 years. This timeframe equates to approximately one generation time for each species, and it is therefore unlikely that a detrimental impact could occur within this period. This timeframe also allows for the completion and analysis of ongoing scientific studies (e.g., genetic analyses, ocean migration patterns, climate change impacts). Also, it allows for the assessment of data to determine whether the preliminary reports of increased river counts in many areas along the coast in the last 2 years represent sustained trends. During this 3- to 5-year period, we intend to coordinate with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission on a strategy to develop a long-term and dynamic conservation plan (e.g., priority activities and areas) for river herring considering the full range of both species and with the goal of addressing many of the high priority data gaps for river herring.  In support of this effort, we have established a Technical Expert Working Group to facilitate the development of a Conservation Plan.