Pacific Herring | Oceana Canada

Canadian Marine Life Encyclopedia

Pacific Herring

Clupea pallasii pallasii

Also known as

sea herring, sild, hareng

Distribution

Throughout the North Pacific, ranging from Alaska down to Mexico

Écosystèmes/habitats

Pelagic to coastal in cold to temperate waters

Feeding Habits

Filter feeder

Conservation Status

Not listed

Taxonomie

Order Clupeiformes (herrings); Family Clupeidae (herrings, shads, sardines and menhadens)

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Pacific herring are a small and widely abundant fish that are very important to both the ecology and culture of Canada’s Pacific coast. Many other species rely on them for food, including larger fish, seabirds as well as marine and terrestrial mammals. Pacific herring also have significant value to communities, including First Nations. Some First Nations have stories and songs about herring that have been passed down to subsequent generations, demonstrating the long-term connection of Indigenous Peoples to this fish.

Pacific herring have not been assessed by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). However, they have been assessed by Fisheries and Oceans Canada under the Precautionary Approach Framework. Scientific data for the five stocks is lacking and they have been assigned the status Unknown until appropriate reference points can be determined. Even so, abundance estimates have shown declines over the past couple of decades, with some slight increases over the past few years in three of the five stocks. 

Oceana Canada is working to protect Canada’s oceans for species like the Pacific herring. Find out more about our campaigns and join us in helping to bring abundance back to the ocean.