Herring Homecoming - Oceana USA
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March 23, 2006

Herring Homecoming

BY: Nilanga

Who would have thought of the Bronx River in New York as a destination for some species of herring? Apparently the 21-mile long river was a thriving herring breeding ground a few hundred years ago before colonists dammed the river for flour mills. According to yesterday’s New York Times, herring are making a comeback to the Bronx River after a very long absence thanks to the efforts of The Wildlife Conservation Society. The Society released 201 herring with the hope that they will spawn in the upcoming weeks and return to breed for years to come. Check out the story for more details (New York Times registration required).

Some species of herring, like the alewife species released into the Bronx River, are anadromous, while others like Atlantic herring are solely marine species. Anadromous fish live out most of their lives in the ocean but return to freshwater to breed. Other anadromous fish include salmon, green and white sturgeon and American shad. Catadromous species, like the American eel, live in fresh water but travel out to the ocean to breed. American eels actually make a long journey all the way to the Sargasso Sea in the Atlantic Ocean to spawn among the sea’s abundant sargassum weeds. All these species follow an unexplained natural instinct and return to the places of their birth to reproduce. Let’s hope the offspring of the newly-introduced alewife herring remember their way back home to the Bronx River.