NOAA Fisheries reached a determination in early April that no listing under the Endangered Species Act is warranted at this time for the Southeast Alaska distinct population segment of Pacific herring.
The listing determination came on the heels of an extensive status review, federal fisheries officials said.
A petition to list Pacific herring in Lynn Canal under the ESA was filed in 2007 by the Juneau group of the Sierra Club.
NOAA said they determined that a listing was not warranted because the population does not constitute a species, subspecies or distinct population segment under the ESA. Instead NOAA Fisheries determined that Lynn Canal Pacific herring are part of a larger Southeast Alaska distinct population segment of Pacific herring, which should be considered a candidate species under the ESA, and because a status review of that candidate species.
Following that status review, NOAA Fisheries determined that a listing was not warranted at this time. Herring in Southeast Alaska have shown a positive trend in abundance between 1980 and 2011, NOAA officials said, and are exhibiting positive trends in growth rate and productivity. Although local spawning aggregations may periodically exhibit low levels of abundance, these aggregations appear to rebuild in time, possibly due to immigration from other areas. While there are some threats from habitat loss in urban areas, NOAA Fisheries concluded that Pacific herring in Southeast Alaska are not likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future.
The Southeast Alaska DPS of Pacific herring extends from Dixon Entrance in the south, where it is genetically distinguished from the British Columbia stock; to Cape Fairweather and Ice Point in the north, where the stock is limited by physical and ecological barriers.
The decision is online at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/protectedresources/herring/default.htm