Take Action: Urge NOAA to Protect River Herring

Help us protect depleted river herring from industrial fishing.

River herring and shad are unique fish species on the Atlantic Coast. They spend most of their lives at sea but return to spawn in streams and rivers every spring. Unfortunately, their populations have declined by 99 percent coastwide from their historic levels. Annual runs of river herring and shad for each river vary from year to year, but overall these important species are on the brink of disappearing through most of their range.

River herring and shad are caught at sea in large numbers by industrial fisheries targeting Atlantic herring and mackerel. Limits on the amount of river herring and shad that can be caught offshore have been in place only since 2015. But already the herring fishery is asking for more, and now federal managers have proposed increasing these limits by 16 percent. This would allow at least half a million more river herring and shad to be caught at sea!

So much work has gone into restoring river herring and shad habitat in rivers: Dams have been removed, water quality has improved, and people even lift the fish over dams that are still in place. To allow the commercial fishery to kill more at sea is a move in the wrong direction.

Urge the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Fisheries Service to reject this proposal.

Please contact Northeast Regional Administrator John Bullard and ask him not to increase catch of river herring and shad.

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