Oswego, NY, June 29, 2016 - While much attention has focused on the role of foreign shipping as a source of new invasive species, there are two closely related North American herring species (actually they are “shads”) that have been introduced beyond their native range into the Great Lakes by canals.
Skipjack herring, Alosa chrysochloris, and blueback herring, Alosa aestivalis, arrived to the Great Lakes at opposite ends in the late 1980s to early 1990s. Both species are “sea run” fish.
Like their more familiar invasive relative the alewife, Alosa pseudoharengus, Skipjack and Blueback Herring can readily adapt to a complete freshwater lifestyle. Alewives were first observed in Lake Ontario during the 1870s and later spread into the remaining Great Lakes.
A brochure from New York Sea Grant (first released in May 2015) (pdf) explores a key question tying these fish species together: Since their introductions at opposite ends of the Great Lakes, are populations of Skipjack and Blueback Herring expanding?
Detailed drawings in the publication help to identify these invaders as well as similar native species in the Great Lakes.
More Info: New York Sea Grant
New York Sea Grant (NYSG), a cooperative program of Cornell University
and the State University of New York, is one of 33 university-based
programs under the National Sea Grant College Program (NSGCP) of the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The NSGCP
engages this network of the nation’s top universities in conducting
scientific research, education, training and extension projects designed
to foster science-based decisions about the use and conservation of our
aquatic resources. Through its statewide network of integrated
services, NYSG has been promoting coastal vitality, environmental
sustainability, and citizen awareness about the State’s marine and Great
Lakes resources since 1971.
New York Sea Grant maintains Great Lakes offices at SUNY Buffalo, the
Wayne County Cooperative Extension office in Newark and at SUNY Oswego.
In the State's marine waters, NYSG has offices at Stony Brook University
and Stony Brook Manhattan, in the Hudson Valley through Cooperative
Extension in Kingston and at Brooklyn College.
For updates on Sea Grant activities: www.nyseagrant.org has RSS, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube links. NYSG also offers a free e-list sign up via www.nyseagrant.org/coastlines for its flagship publication, NY Coastlines/Currents, which is published several times a year.