02 Aug '11, 2pm

In the '60s fishermen caught 50 million lbs of river herring each year. Now they catch only 1 mil lbs: #oceans

In the '60s fishermen caught 50 million lbs of river herring each year. Now they catch only 1 mil lbs: #oceans

Among all the awe-inspiring phenomena of the natural world, the immense spawning runs of alewife and blueback herring along the Atlantic Coast ranks highly. Not long ago, these platinum, big-eyed fish poured into estuaries and up rivers in such overwhelming numbers that, to the human eye or imagination, a river might seem to run backward, for an instant. Collectively known as “river herring,” they fed Native Americans and early settlers—and they still nurture our ecosystems. Not only are they fundamental to both marine and freshwater food webs as prey species, but those fish that die after spawning also fertilize their natal streams, much like salmon. Unfortunately, after centuries of overfishing, dam construction, water pollution and other harms—which now increasingly includes the effects of global warming—the annual pulses of river herring have slowed to a relative trick...

Full article: http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/bsewell/its_time_to_sav...

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