Pacific Herring
The population of the once-largest stock of Pacific herring, the Cherry Point stock, has declined by over 90% since 1973. The size of all herring stocks combined varies from year to year and they have declined slightly.
Indicator Lead: Kurt Stick, Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife
This webpage is currently being updated. For the most recent findings for this Vital Sign, please consult the report in the latest State of the Sound
Data last updated on April 30th, 2015

Importance to Puget Sound recovery

Pacific herring are one of the most abundant forage fish species in Puget Sound. Together with a few other small schooling fish species herring play a unique role in the food web: they are an essential source of food for larger fish, seabirds, and marine mammals, and as such, transfer energy from their plankton prey to these higher-level consumers.

Because they are a vital component of the marine food web, Pacific herring are one key indicator of the overall health of Puget Sound. Herring stocks require clean water and natural shorelines, so their continued survival depends on maintaining links between nearshore and open-water habitats.

What you can do

  1. Minimize shoreline alterations to preserve natural shoreline conditions for herring habitat.
  2. Dispose of oil and other auto wastes at your local recycling location or hazardous waste collection facility. Some county-based links are available here.
  3. Avoid using fertilizers. If fertilizer must be used, choose organic or time-released fertilizers with low levels of phosphorus and nitrogen, and follow the directions on the label.
  4. Instead of fertilizer, use compost to augment your soil and fertilize your plants. Also, compost vegetation and other yard waste; do not throw it over the bank into a waterway or shoreline. See Washington Department of Ecology's composting site for more information.
  5. Use Low Impact Development (LID) techniques to manage stormwater runoff such as natural landscaping, rain gardens, rain barrels, green roofs and permeable paving where appropriate.
  6. Volunteer in your area to work with a group helping to reduce fresh water pollution.
Links for more information on what you can do

What our partners are doing

View Near Term Actions helping to advance this Vital Sign

Links for more information

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) – Status Review of Pacific Herring in Puget Sound

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

United State Geological Survey (USGS) Puget Sound Forage Fish