Earlier this spring, scientists saw herring spawning along the Seattle shoreline, between Pier 70 and the grain elevator. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) called it an “unusual and exciting event.” This is the first time they have ever seen spawning herring in this urban area.
WDFW scientists saw the fish on the Seattle shoreline along Myrtle Edwards Park and the Olympic Sculpture Park. The City of Seattle restored this shoreline about five years ago to create a more natural nearshore habitat for salmon. Restoration included pocket beaches and substrate for nearshore vegetation.
Staff collected samples of the spawned eggs to see if they were healthy and if they had been exposed to pollutants. An early assessment showed that the embryos were developing normally.
Pacific herring and other “forage fish,” such as surf smelt and Pacific sand lance, are an important source of food for salmon and other wildlife.