NOAA’s Fisheries Service Says Herring in Lynn Canal Not Endangered

April 15, 2008

Herring caught during an acoustic trawl survey of Lynn Canal in Southeast Alaska.
Herring caught during an acoustic trawl survey of Lynn Canal in Southeast Alaska.

High Resolution (Credit: NOAA)

Herring in Lynn Canal, near Juneau, Alaska, should not be listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act since they are similar to other herring populations in the area that are being considered for listing, according to NOAA’s Fisheries Service.

“It’s true that the herring population has declined in Lynn Canal when compared with the 1970s,” said Doug Mecum, acting administrator for the Alaska region of NOAA’s Fisheries Service. “However, the herring in Lynn Canal are not separate from other herring in southeast Alaska. We need to look at the entire southeast Alaska herring population.”

Mecum explained that biologists have already started a status review of the entire southeast Alaska herring population from Cape Fairweather and Icy Cape in the north, southward to Dixon Entrance, and westward to the open waters of the Gulf of Alaska.

Researchers inspect survey sample and find herring.

High Resolution (Credit: NOAA)

On April 2, 2007, NOAA’s Fisheries Service received a petition from the Juneau chapter of the Sierra Club to list the Lynn Canal stock of Pacific herring, Clupea pallasi, as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act. At the time, experts reviewed the petition, the literature cited in the petition, and other literature and information in agency files, and decided that the petitioned action might be warranted.

Since then, NOAA’s Fisheries Service convened a biological review team of scientists from NOAA’s Alaska and Northwest fisheries science centers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Park Service. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game provided substantial information and advice such as data on the abundance of the herring population and the trends in population. The biological review team completed the status review of Pacific herring in Lynn Canal and found they are not eligible to be listed separately under the Endangered Species Act.

Information about herring in Lynn Canal can be viewed online.

NOAA’s Fisheries Service, known formally as the National Marine Fisheries Service, is dedicated to protecting and preserving our nation’s living marine resources through scientific research, management, enforcement, and the conservation of marine mammals and other protected marine species and their habitat. To learn more about NOAA’s Fisheries Service in Alaska, please visit their Web site.       

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and information service delivery for transportation, and by providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 70 countries and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.