(U.S. Atlantic, Wild-caught)
There are concerns that Atlantic herring is being overfished, which may impact marine mammals, seabirds and fishes that also depend on this species.
Sardine, Sild, Sperling, Pilchard, Brit
Most of the U.S. commercial catch occurs between May and October in the Gulf of Maine; however, Atlantic herring is available throughout the year as a canned product.
In the northwest Atlantic, herring is one of the most important prey items for marine mammals, seabirds and predatory fishes such as bluefin tuna. There is also a large commercial fishery for herring, with the fish being canned for human consumption or sold for bait.
With herring in such high demand, recent studies suggest that current catch levels could be profoundly impacting the health of the ecosystem. It's possible that too many Atlantic herring are being fished out of the ocean reducing their availability for whales, dolphins, seals, seabirds, tunas, and other predatory fishes that rely on them as an important food source.
The extent of bycatch in the herring fishery is largely unknown, but appears to include some protected fish species.
Atlantic herring are caught with midwater trawls, which can catch huge amounts of fish and are not selective. Steps have been taken in recent years to address this, including some fishing area closures to decrease bycatch of protected species. However, it will be some time before the benefits of these new management measures will be realized.