Atlantic herring tend to return to natal spawning grounds, making them susceptible to fishing pressure. However, females have an average fecundity for fin-fish, which helps with resiliency. Herring’s high fat content makes it an important food source for marine mammals, birds, and a number of fish.
Overfishing and exploitation in the 1960s caused the Atlantic herring fishery to collapse in the 1970s. Since the 1990s, the stocks have been recovering and current harvest rates are considered sustainable, according to the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service.